Marathon training tips – beginner tips on how to train for a marathon

Yesterday marked the half way point of (hopefully) my next main dream… running the New York Marathon (I say hopefully because I considered doing it last year, but got injured a month before the event – preventing me from running the 2014 event).  Yesterday afternoon, I ran 15 miles and, thus, completed 8 weeks of rigorous training… just 8 weeks to go.

So, to mark this commemorative moment in my training, I wanted to share with you, my readers, some of my Marathon Training Tips – Beginner tips on how to train for a marathon…

Leave Enough Time

Once you’ve decided to run a marathon, make sure you have enough time to complete a full training plan.  Running a marathon isn’t something to enter into lightly – my plan is for a beginners marathon and is 4 months long.  It started, in the first week, with 3 easy 4 milers, followed by an 8 miler at the weekend… if you’re not already a runner, be sure to take a little more time, before your plan starts, to build up to 4 runs per week – and maybe even to the 4mile mark if you aren’t used to that sort of distance.

Download a Running Tracker App

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RunKeeper Charts
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If you run with a smart phone, I strongly suggest you download a tracking app for your runs… as you can see in the screenshots above (black are iCardio, white are RunKeeper), they have GPS, inbuilt, to map your outdoor runs, and record your time/distance/speed amongst others.  I use RunKeeper and iCardio (these are both free apps, with upgrades available – I haven’t needed the upgrades) but I find RunKeeper to be the better option due to its training plans, which leads me to…

Get a Proper Training Plan

I truly believe this is the sole reason I actually got injured last year – I didn’t have a proper training plan – so, although I was dead on track with the distances of my long weekend runs, I was only doing half of the shorter runs during the week.  These shorter runs are vital for building strength and stamina to help your body cope with the longer weekend runs.  In order to avoid injury, I, therefore, strongly recommend entering into a full training plan that suits your personal lifestyle needs.

The tracker apps, mentioned above, sometimes have training schedules in built into the system… as I mentioned above, RunKeeper is great for this.  These apps are extremely useful for telling you when to finish your run – or, if your training schedule requires you to do any sort of interval training, when to change speeds.  You can always check back at the end of your run, too, to monitor your marathon goals in terms of what sort of speeds/intervals you are achieving.

ALWAYS Warm Up and Cool Down

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I generally do more dynamic stretches/movements to warm up – this gets my muscles prepared for the run, and my blood flowing… high knees, skipping, arm rotations and some standing yoga stretches are great examples of good warm up exercises.

To cool down, I tend to walk around for a minute or so, followed by some more seated stretches.  If I don’t stretch it out after my longer runs, I tend to find that my muscles seize up and I’m aching for days!!  Avoid this by following a good cool down plan.

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Warm ups and cool downs only need to take 5 minutes each – although, I’ve found that, after my long run, getting my feet higher than my body for 5 minutes or so, on top of my cool down routine, feels amazing!!  I like to stay in a headstand for a few minutes… alternatively, you can lie, face up, on the floor with your feet up a wall – this works just as well!

One Step at a Time

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Take it one step at a time… if you try to think too far ahead, you’re likely to become overwhelmed with the amount that has to be done.  Take each training day as it comes and, likewise, take each mile as it comes – particularly when it comes to the long weekend run.  Pace yourself at the beginning (even if you’re feeling fresh) and speed up in the second half if you’re still feeling great.

Keep Hydrated

When it comes to the long runs, in particular, both water and electrolyte/sports drinks are vital.  Water will generally be enough if you’re running for less than an hour – otherwise, a sports drink will help replace the electrolytes lost through sweat and, thus, avoid diluting your blood due to low salt/sodium levels.

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If you don’t like carrying water bottles, ensure you plant “recharge stations” on the running routes you plan to use throughout your training before you set off.  Otherwise, there are plenty of hydrationandyou can buy to ensure you always have fluids and keep your hands free.

Carb Up

You may have heard of the infamous “carb loading” before particularly long or vigorous workouts – this keeps the muscles working for longer.

Now, although I’m not sure how I, personally, feel about dietary supplements of any kind… some research has shown that there is only a certain amount of glycogen your body can hold, and this will quickly disappear throughout your run – making your muscles feel heavy and tired.  Many sources advise runners to consume about 30-60g of carbs each hour if your run happens to take longer than 2 hours.

Great sources of carbs include; (which should be taken with a few gulps of water – not sports drink), raisins, or(or regular jelly beans/babies, as a substitute – they just don’t contain the extra electrolytes, but if you already have a sports drink this is generally fine).

The best way is, probably, to experiment with these products during your training runs and figure out which (if any) work best for you so your not trying something new on the race day.

Keep Rest Days for Rest!!

You’re rest days are needed to help you rejuvenate your body… allow it, for just that!!  One or two days for a different kind of training, such as HIIT, can be good to change up the muscles you’re working… strength training is good for endurance, balance and, of course, strength… and swimming is great if you want something lower impact.  Always leave at least one or two days per week for complete rest though.

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Have you ever, or are you planning to, run a marathon?  Any extra tips or advice for a first marathon runner?  Please feel free to join the discussion in the comments below!!

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

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(N.B. I should probably let you all know here, I haven’t actually signed up yet… I’m waiting until the last minute so I don’t get disappointed like last year!! )

Shaolin Kung Fu Training China

If you’re, in any way, a kung fu/martial arts enthusiast, I know just the place for you.  Shaolin Kung Fu training is abundant in Dengfeng, China… home to the World famous Shaolin Temple – birthplace of the original Chinese Kungfu.

Getting to DengFeng

The best way to get to Dengfeng is to either fly, or take a train, to Zhengzhou.  Once in Zhengzhou, you can then make your way to the Central bus station and get a direct bus from there.  Buses leave every 30minutes between 06:00 – 20:00 and the journey should take around 2hours.  The tourist buses stop in a bunch of other spots on the way and are much more expensive than the direct buses.

Be warned – if you are a backpacker, there are no hostels in Zhengzhou – so if you get a late flight, you’ll have to stay in a more expensive hotel!!

Kung Fu Training

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There are many different varieties of packages available if you wish to learn some Kung Fu in Dengfeng… I, personally, was limited on time for this part of my trip, so I just did a half day session at the school.  Whilst I was there, however, I was training with another couple of English men who’d decided to go for the full training experience of 1 or 2 months.

Once you arrive in Dengfeng, there are a number of schools offering Kung Fu lessons/training experiences fairly cheaply – so I’d recommend heading to the city and organising it once you’re there in order to avoid paying ridiculous middle man/agent charges for pre-booked trips.  If you’re struggling to find any schools, just head to one of the hostels and ask if they can direct you to any that may offer what you’re looking for.

Be aware, if you go for one of the full experiences, you will, more than likely, be living a completely immersive experience – the schools are often genuine monasteries where the students have dedicated their entire lives to martial arts and are living as monks.  The accommodation is likely to be very minimalist, the food – traditional Chinese (potentially 3 rice meals/day) and you’ll be training all day.  A typical schedule could end up looking something like this:

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06:00 – 07:00 Tai Chi
07:30 – 08:00 Breakfast
08:30 – 11:00 Shaolin Kung fu training
11:30 – 12:30 lunch
14:30 – 17:30 Afternoon training
18:00 – 19:00 dinner
19:30 – 20:30 Tai Chi

Shaolin Temple and Other Attractions

If you’re not bothered about actually training, but still wish to see the Shaolin Temple, there’s still plenty to keep you entertained.  Inside the monastery grounds, you will find the main Shaolin temple – alongside numerous sub-temples, practising monks, a charitable orphanage and some incredible shows of supernatural agility and power by some of the martial artists themselves.  The ticket costs 110元 and it’s open from 8:00 – 17:30… martial arts performances are on the hour.

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In the area, there is also plenty of hiking that can be done, on or around Mount Song (Song Shan) – one of the “most sacred mountains in China”.

Dengfeng is known as a particularly spiritual city, due to its location by Mount Song… along with its Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian; Temples, pagodas and academies.

Where to Stay

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If you’re a backpacker, I can genuinely recommend Shaolin Traveller’s Youth Hostel, the staff were extremely helpful… they helped me figure out how to get the local bus to the Shaolin Temple, find a school for my Kung Fu lesson and they can even provide tips on how to climb Song Mountain without paying the entrance fee!! 😉

…you can even leave your mark by painting on the walls!!! —>

Do you train any Kung Fu styles?  Ever been to the Shaolin temple?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!!

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

Harbin Ice Festival Holidays – How to’s and Other Attractions

Tucked away in the North Eastern quarter of China is the city of Harbin… famous, in China, for it’s very own beer (pijiu) brand, that originates from here, it is also known for it’s Russian architecture – and, most spectacularly, home to one of worlds largest ice festivals

…For a Harbin ice festival holiday, and a taste (figurative and literal 😛 ) of all 3 of the above, visit in January/February – but be sure to pack LOTS of warm clothes!!

Ice Festival

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The main event is, obviously, the HUGE “Ice and Snow World” – complete with incredible, enormous ice buildings, shows, ice bars (for the adults) and ice slides (for the kids/inner children 😉 ) – it really is a winter wonderland worth experiencing.  In the evening, the sculptures are illuminated with coloured lights, synonymous with the Chinese culture.

Songhua River also joins in on the ice festival action – here, you can find many ice related activities on offer, such as; skating, ice biking, ice karting, dog sledding and many more… (when I went here, I happened to have just come off a set of crutches, so I, unfortunately, had to stick to the ice karts!!  If I’d have been fit and healthy, I’m pretty sure I could’ve spent the entire day here!!)  You can enter the area for free, but you have to pay individually for the individual activities you wish to take part in.

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But wait… that’s not all Harbin has to offer!!

North of the River

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Across, on the North side of the river, the Siberian Tiger Park is a safari-style experience where you can choose to feed the tigers if you wish.  The park has over 600 tigers and, also, a few lions and other big cats… and this is potentially one of the only places in the world where you can see the beautiful, endangered, Siberian tiger.

This is also where you can find the Russian style town in Sun Island… eat Russian sausages, chocolate and drink the vodka to your hearts content, buy Russian dolls and paintings, or just stroll through and enjoy the experience!

Town Centre

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The main street in Harbin, Central Street,is where you can marvel at the European architecture and even more ice sculptures!  The street comprises many hotels, bars and shops selling both Russian and European trinkets, souvenirs and/or commodities (Russian vodka… 😉 )

If you wish to see some authentic Russian architecture, St Sophia Cathedral is the place to go – located in the central district, the cathedral is now a museum for the architecture of Harbin.

How to’s and Prices

Harbin Ice and Snow World 冰雪大世界 (Open 9:00 – 21:00)

Buses: 54, 85, 211, 212, 216, 219, 346, 551, 552 – get off at Sun Island road junction

Ticket Prices range from 120-330元 (RMB), depending on the day and time.

Over 70s (with ID) and children under 1.2m are free.

Siberian Tiger Park 东北虎林园 (Open 9:00 – 16:00)

Buses: 85, 88

Take a taxi to: 88 Songbei Street 松北街88号

Price: 50元

Russian Style Town 俄罗斯风情小镇

Take a taxi to: Pingyuan Street 平原街

Price: Unknown

St Sophia Cathedral 聖索菲亞教堂 (Open 8:30 – 17:00)

(Central) 88 Toulong Street  透笼街88号

Price: 10元

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Need anymore advice?  Or have you ever been to Harbin?  If so, what was your favourite activity/attraction?  Let us know in the comments below!

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

4 steps to happiness

There are so many blogs/articles/books out there on how to achieve happiness – I personally believe there are 4 steps to happiness… and that, for a happy, fulfilled life, we must learn how to balance all 4 of these core elements…

1. Love <3

Self-Love

When it comes to ourselves, we are, so often, our own worst critics… we notice our mistakes/flaws so much easier than anyone else that may pass through our lives.  If our best friend said, even half, the stuff some of us say to ourselves, (I’d certainly hope) they would be out of our lives in a shot.  Our self-talk is SO important for our self-esteem – and if we make a decision to really stop and think about the things we say to ourselves, and to literally change these thoughts, to something more positive, we would become infinitely happier.  Be as kind to yourself as you are to your best friends!!

Love Others

I’m not just talking about your friends and family here, I’m talking everyone you come across… treat others as you wish to be treated – when you love yourself, this will become SO much easier.  This means being friendly, non-judgemental and helpful in every interaction with another person.  Accept people as they are – let’s face it, pobody’s nerfect! (Not even me!!) 😛

If someone treats you bad, just cut out interactions with them… that’s their karma to correct!!

Ever seen a person bullying another, or laughing at someone else behind their back?? It’s a pretty ugly thing to see, right? and you certainly don’t feel good/happy watching it… loving yourself and others will automatically make you more a beautiful person… you’ll radiate this inexplicable warmth for yourself and others – so make it your mission to practice this every day and to make it a habit in your life.

2. Health & Fitness

Health

Let’s face it, no overweight person actually wants to be overweight, right?  When you become a little more conscious of what you eat and when, you’ll start to realise just how much you currently overeat… take notice of when you eat and when you’re actually hungry.  Really make an effort to listen to your bodies signals – when you’re hungry or when you’re full, and don’t just eat that cake because it “looks yum”!!

If you’re upset/tired/stressed, don’t eat to fill the void or keep yourself going, cry/sleep/take some time out for yourself – emotional eating doesn’t, and never will, fix your problems… you just feel worse, because the problem still remains, but now you feel guilty on top of that!!

Aim to eat foods that fill you up rather than sugary foods that give you a spike/burst, followed by a crash.  Fibre is great for filling you up for longer periods, aim to snack on fruit or carrots rather than chocolate, cakes or biscuits.

Fitness

When you exercise, your body feels stronger – you feel invigorated and it can even improve your sex life!! 😉  There’s a whole bunch of evidence that shows physical activity can significantly reduce your risks of numerous health conditions later in life.

Start slow… if you haven’t done any exercise for a long while, begin with walking and just do what you can – maybe take a pedometer with you and aim to do a little more everyday, vary your routes so you don’t get bored.  Some other ideas could be; take the stairs instead of the lift at work, cycle (or run) to places close by instead of using the car, when you want to meet you friends why not try a game of tennis rather than a sedentary cinema trip??

3. Spiritual

This one’s more about your mind and making sure you take some time out for yourself… do something you enjoy alone – read a book, meditate, stay in tune with your emotions, thoughts and physical experiences and generally give your mind a chance to catch up with the various events that have been going on in your life.  Make time to get to know yourself… what makes you tick, what things do you enjoy, what kind of people do you enjoy hanging out with?

Take note of the thoughts that pass through your mind… are they kind? thankful? positive?  If not, make a real effort to change them.

4. Pursuit of Goals

If you’re not pursuing dreams/learning something, it’s really easy to get comfortable and to allow your life to stagnate – I tend to think this is the kind of territory where people get bored and can begin to look outside themselves for other fulfilment or excitement.

A lot of people aim for the pursuit of happiness, but I tend to flip that to the happiness of pursuit… so allow your crazy, childish dreamer back to the surface, I know he/she is in there somewhere!!

I believe a balanced lifestyle, between all of the 4 aspects listed above, is the core foundation to a happy life.  You may have noticed a theme of “self” going on throughout each avenue here – this is, without a doubt, the most important part.  Never forget how important YOUARE… you cannot truly love another until you truly love yourself.

…finally, don’t forget to just smile!! 😀

My current pursuit is mainly business, because I know this will eventually give me the freedom I want for ALL of the above aspects – it’ll help me achieve the kind of independence I dream of for my future family, health/lifestyle AND the pursuit of my other dream, having time and location independence and travelling the world as and when I like!! 🙂

What are your current goals in life?  What kind of life would you dream of having if anything was possible??

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – Review

Product: Think and Grow Rich (bestselling classic) by Napoleon Hill

Price: £9.99 (RRP)

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com

My Rating: 9/10

Product Overview – Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill


This book adopts a 13-step approach to success and wealth – and happens to be a classic amongst the bestseller lists.  The books main focus is to teach it’s readers how to think like, what most would regard as, some of the worlds’ most successful people – and thus, follow in their footsteps.  It’s been circulating around, in various different edits, since 1937 – and it’s still just as popular and relevant, now, as it was back then.

Inspiration is built into the chapters, throughout the book, in order to back-up Hill’s principles/steps… Whilst the original version of Think and Grow Rich includes stories of some of Napoleon Hills’ contemporaries (such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford), some of the newer edits have been updated to contain more recent members of our more current ‘elite’ society (like Bill Gates).

Is This Book for You?


First of all, if you’re already sceptical, or, for that matter, perfectly happy with the amount of money you currently earn, I really wouldn’t bother even reading this review any further… If you’re looking for some get rich quick tips, this book won’t be for you – success, in any field, takes time and dedication.

If, however, you would like to take advantage of certain opportunities that life, in this day and age, has to offer… such as travelling the world, or learning that new skill you’ve always wanted  – AND you don’t, currently, have the money to do these things, Think and Grow Rich could be for you.  This book is for those that are dedicated to building a good foundation and are willing to follow guidance from someone who’s, evidently, already earnt their stripes.

But, Wait, Money Can’t Buy Me Happiness…


Some people might argue that this book isn’t for them because they don’t believe money is the route to happiness…  Others have concerns that some of  the information presented is simply pseudo-science and, thus, not really based on factual scientific evidence.

My Opinions and Conclusion


I think the book is well laid out and, aside from a pretty slow start, once the book actually gets going on it’s principles it has some fairly useful wisdom and inspiration amongst the pages.  One or two of the principles are, admittedly, fairly obvious (work-hard, persist), but amongst these, lie some interesting and thought-provoking ideas also (sixth sense, transmutation of sexual energy etc.).

If you’re currently saying the above heading to yourself, I’d have to argue that maybe you’re just spending your money wrong?  This is just my personal opinion – feel free to discuss the subject further in the comments below…

…I would wholehearted agree with you that material objects won’t give us the happiness we desire deep down, however, what we spend our money on is our choice, right?!  If we actually choose to spend our money in more positive ways – such as; on the people we love, on helping others, even on personal experiences as opposed to possessions… we ALL had dreams once, right?  To learn to figure skate, to see the world, even just to lead a simple life free of every day financial worries (how to feed your kids and keep a roof over their heads)… if we earn enough, maybe we can even do these things with the people we love and help others that we meet along the way!!

In my opinion, happiness is found when we have the freedom to be completely ourselves… including that child-like part of you who enjoys trying new things and being creative… and, ultimately, believes anything is possible.  Unfortunately, in this day and age, we generally need money to do all these exciting things.

As a final point, it’s important to start out with this book with an open mind… you don’t have to want to be a millionaire for this book to be of use to you… YOU define what “rich” means to you – your goal could be to be a millionaire, it could be to earn a modest £2000/month… obviously, the former would be likely to take longer to reach and require a good deal more dedication – but all you really need is a vision of what you want to achieve, financially, and, by following the steps and completing the exercises provided, I think this book really could help you get there.

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I hope you enjoyed this review.  If you have any questions about Think and Grow Rich or any of the ideas in this article… or even if you just want to leave your own reviews/opinions on the book, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

5 unusual things to do in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Most people arrive in Bagan, Myanmar, with the intention of exploring the incredible archaeological site that rivals Cambodia’s Angkor Wat… and I have to admit, the sheer volume of temples on this site is nothing short of mind-blowing.

If I’m honest, though, I know first hand that when you’re travelling and visiting many places like this all in a short time span (like backpackers often do), temples/pagodas/monasteries/stupas can get an itsy bit same samey after a while…  So, for this reason, I’ve decided to list 5 unusual things to do in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)… other than looking at temples!!

Eat!!

Take a Cooking Class

I, personally, took my cooking class in Nyaung Shwe – so I can’t actually personally vouch for this cooking school… however, I did meet some travellers along the way who raved about it…

The Pennywort Cooking Class is located in New Bagan and is a great way to interact with some locals, whilst learning about their traditional meals, customs and way of life.  The classes also help to fund an adjoined library which teaches local children how to read (in Burmese, and English too!!)… so you can feel great about giving your money to a good cause, whilst learning something new!! 🙂

Weather Spoon’s!?!

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Ok, so if you’re British, you’re probably going to realise that this branch doesn’t actually belong/relate to the huge British restaurant chain that is Wetherspoons!!  It does, however, cook MUCH better burgers!!  If you’re travelling, and you’re craving something Western after all the Asian curries etc. you’ve been eating, this is the place to come!!

The story behind this quaint little restaurant begins with a local man from Bagan, who went to study/work in Bristol, England, and ended up loving Wetherspoons so much that, when he returned home to Burma, he decided to open his own restaurant locally!!

Located in Nyaung-U, this place was probably our best Western meal in Myanmar… I can definitely recommend the burgers!

Riverside Mother*%^£”$

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Potentially our most immersive experience with the locals in Bagan came from a personal mission to get to “the beach” (the riverside).

We parked our e-bikes up as close as we could get to the riverside and wondered through a small township looking for a route to the river… the locals were extremely friendly in helping us find our way through the houses, and when we finally reached the river we were greeted by; intrigued local ladies, washing their clothes/pots in the river, young children splashing about, and fishermen, in boats, looking to feed their families.

When we decided to wonder back up towards our bikes, a group of 4 giggling children ran up to us to hold the foreigners’ hands!!

River Cruise

Sit back and relax as you cruise down the Irrawaddy River, watching the sun set and the temples drift by.

Hot-Air Balloon Ride

I didn’t personally do this due to monetary restraints – however, if it’s something you’ve dreamt of doing, and you have the money to do it, I genuinely feel that Bagan would be an incredible place!

There are currently 3 ballooning companies that run hot-air balloon tours in Bagan… ensure you book in advance though, as they do get fully booked fairly quickly.  The balloon season in Bagan runs from late October to mid-March.

Day Trip to Mount Popa

Although this is about a 90 minute drive from Bagan, it is a popular day trip to an extinct volcano… dependent upon your tour provider/driver, you will potentially get the options of; a jungle trek to the summit – with views over Popa Taung Kalat (a spectacular looking monastery built upon “pedestal hill”), lunch at Popa Mountain Resort (where you will get more fantastic photo opportunities of “pedestal hill”), and/or, a walk, up 777 steps, to the monastery previously mentioned.

If you go with a tour provider, the trek is often guided by a local villager who will take you through small local villages where you can potentially meet/chat to various other villagers/families (dependent upon their level of English) – it is, overall, a pleasant, calm retreat to the countryside.  The climb up to the monastery itself, however, has mixed reviews from those who have done it… if you feel that coping with; monkeys, souvenir sellers and walking barefoot whilst dodging the odd monkey “dropping” (which, let’s face it, if you’ve already spent a while in Asia, is nothing new) is for you, go for it… and you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view, right the way to the mountains surrounding Bagan – but some people are more than happy to just view from afar.

Have you been to Bagan and done any of these recommendations?  Did I miss anything out?  I’d love to hear about your experiences – feel free to comment below!

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

How to reach your goals and not give up – 5 tips and tricks

Sometimes, when we’re aiming towards our dreams, we can become discouraged by numerous factors.  There are always bound to be tests along your path to success, but if you’ve already made the first step towards your dream, trust me – you’re already closer than you think.  So, without further ado… how to reach your goals and not give up…

Don’t compare yourself or listen to others

Some people may seem to just BE successful at everything they try in life… what you may not realise is just how much work they may have put in behind the scenes when you haven’t been watching.  Don’t compare yourself to those who are more popular/earning more/whatever else you may deem to be successful – we all have different dreams and ideas of what we want out of life. Success never just happens over night – and, if it did, you probably wouldn’t even appreciate the fruits of your success anyway.

“Don’t waste your time on jealousy – sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind… The race is long, in the end, it’s only with yourself” – Baz Luhrman

On the other hand, there will always be people who have tried to become successful in the field you’re aiming towards, who have simply given up too early for whatever reason.  These people will often try to discourage you from your goal just because they were unable to reach it themselves.  Again, these people have no idea of the fire in your heart… if you can keep it burning, you can achieve whatever you want from life.

Keep on target

If you’ve been working on a single goal for some time, but still don’t see any improvement in the situation, don’t give up – learn lessons from how you’ve already done things and try a different approach.

Don’t focus on the goal…?!

Ok – so, I’m going to make a slight contradiction here to some of the things I may have already written on some of these blogs… but there’s good reason for it – stay with me on this one and you’ll understand why I’m introducing this concept to you guys…

When we focus on the goal, we often fall into the trap of continuously measuring our proximity to that goal… say our goal is to lose weight – we may form a habit of weighing ourselves daily to see how close we’re getting to our target weight.  This habit is all well and good whilst things are going well… but what happens if, after some time and effort – eating well and working out, we hit a plateau… or worse – put on a pound or two!!  We automatically think “this isn’t working” and revert back to our old behaviours and patterns, regardless of the 10pounds we lost initially!!!  We go back to our original weight and try the next “fad diet” – over and over again but never seem to lose anything!!

I want to introduce a new concept for us all today – instead of focusing on the goal itself, focus on each little decision you can make to help you achieve your goal… piece of cake or fruit? Fizzy pop or water? Go for a run or stay in bed?  Sure, from time to time we’ll need to think of our goals to help keep us motivated to make the right choices… but we don’t need to constantly measure our progress – give yourself a pat on the back for each positive choice made, rather than every pound lost!! =)

Be realistic

Now, I don’t really like this as a heading title because I believe we shouldn’t have to be realistic in our overall goals… I believe if you can dream it, you can do it!!

What I’m trying to say in this heading is… be realistic according to what you’ve achieved in relation to the amount of work you’ve put in. You’re never likely to master something the first time you try… put in the effort, make some mistakes, learn from them and try a different approach.

Remember – YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS!!!

Don’t ever forget, we’re meant to be happy… If what you’re doing right now doesn’t bring that, adjust things – create your life according to the things that bring you happiness.  Figure out what you want from life, what happiness means to you then go after it with all your heart…

…and NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

:)

What’s your current goal? Have you been listening to others too much… focusing too much on the constant measurements over the mini achievements… expecting incredible things to land on your plate without making any effort towards finding them?  I’d love to hear your feedback/personal responses… so feel free to leave a comment!!

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne Review – The secrets behind the laws of attraction

Product: The Secret (#1 best-selling book 2006) by Rhonda Byrne

Price: £16.99 (RRP)

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com (Click image for direct link) —–>

My Rating: 7/10

Product Overview – The Secret by Rhonda Byrne


This book is a beginners introduction to ‘The Laws of Attraction’ – a (perhaps controversial) theory, in which the universe, and thus our lives, are governed by our thoughts and the focus of our minds.  The book covers a number of topics which equate to, what most people would refer to as, a happy, balanced and successful life. The Secret teaches its readers how to apply the Laws of Attraction in all the main aspects of life;

  • health/self
  • money/career
  • relationships.

Inspiration and wisdom, from many current, successful practitioners of the theory, are provided in the book too… including stories of how these people have applied the laws of attraction to their own lives and achieved remarkable results.

Are you ready?


This book has a great deal of incredible, inspiring information detailing how to sculpt our lives into the exact picture we wish to manifest.  If you’re happy with your life as it is, then this book is, most likely, not for you… but if you have this niggling feeling that there’s something missing in your life as it stands – be it money, relationships, health – then this could be just the nudge you need to start changing your life and creating it exactly as you please.

The book contains numerous chapters based on what “The Secret” actually is, how to use it and how to apply it in numerous areas of life.  I believe the quotes from practitioners (both past and present) really bring the book to life and inspire it’s readers to live life to their highest potential as long as they’re passionate and ready for their breakthrough!

Is “The Secret” Controversial?


There are certain controversies aligned with “The Secret“, whereby religious people, in particular, believe the content opposes and contradicts certain religious views… others, however, agree that the two subjects are complementary…  There are also some people who think “The Secret” is just a bunch of psychological marketing.  Finally, the ‘Law of Attraction’ has no real scientific basis – it’s basis comes more from a whole bunch of distinguished occurrences.

My Opinions and Conclusion


I don’t really agree with a particular religion, however I do feel as though there’s a certain higher power in the world… so the religious argument doesn’t really bother me – as long as something is helpful to people throughout rough times, which I believe this book (as well as religion) truly can be, then I have no personal issues with it.  If you continue to read the whole series ( <—–available from amazon by clicking the picture to the left), you’ll find that the powers behind the ‘Laws of Attraction’ are love and gratitude… more of those things in the world can only make it a better place, right?!

In terms of psychological marketing – isn’t that what ANYBODY wanting to sell to others is engaging in anyway??  I think the author truly believes in the message written in the book and just wanted to pass on the ideas… is that such a crime??

Scientifically, I agree to a certain extent… no matter how much you dream about growing another leg after it’s been amputated, or growing wings so you can fly like a bird, it’s never going to happen, right?  But even if you can’t grow a leg, you can build a prosthetic one… if you can’t grow wings, you can still build a plane… some things may be biologically (or otherwise) impossible, but, if we’re passionate enough about something, I believe alternatives can be dreamt up and created – and I believe that this is the idea this book is trying to sell.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  If you have any questions about the Secret or the Laws of Attraction… or even if you just want to leave your own reviews/opinions on the book, please feel free to leave a comment below. 🙂

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

Understanding in relationships – the importance of understanding

One thing I’ve realised about myself, during times of reflection, on the subject of love, is my intense need to feel understood in my relationships with the people who are particularly close to me. It seems to have created a recurring pattern, specifically in my love life, whereby, I initially feel understood and fall deeply in love – only to then end up falling quickly out of love when a subject, of particular importance/relevance to me, arises where we have majorly differing opinions. In the past, I’ve always tried my upmost to hold onto these relationships and convince myself of feelings that are simply no longer there – but the truth is, the misunderstanding, somehow, just leaves me feeling completely unloved and unwanted.

Whilst I realise that this is my own issue that I have to work through on my own, it just goes to show how important understanding and communication can be when it comes to relationships with loved ones (romantic and non-romantic alike) and their perceptions of big changes/events in their lives.

In recent years, I’ve attempted in all my interactions with others, where possible, to live by the quote;

Seek first to understand and then to be understood – Stephen Covey

…I’ve realised recently, however, that, whilst I’m great at doing this in circumstances that don’t directly relate to my personal life experiences… I’m not so good when the feelings and emotions are personal – and specifically around subject areas that are particularly raw (or, otherwise, undealt with).

…In the same breath, I know that understanding goes 2 ways… and – if I’m always the one doing the introspective work and apologising, because the recognition of my emotional triggers has allowed me to come to a higher level of understanding, the other person will never have chance to learn whatever I was put in their life to teach them.

understanding

So, I guess my questions to you guys (my readers) are:  At what point do you give up and realise that, no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to see eye to eye with a loved one on a certain subject… At what point do you just stop trying to explain what you’re attempting to communicate and allow the ever growing distance between you to just continue its course?

For me, previously, I guess I’ve distanced myself until I’ve felt comfortable enough to return, then finally; either come back to make things work, or given up completely on romantic relationships once another person came along who DID understand what the previous partner simply couldn’t accept.  Now, I’m beginning wonder if it’s just easier for both people to cut their losses before they end up damaging the relationship and destroying the love they once shared beyond the point of repair… or maybe that’s the best thing to do, if for no other reason than to have a fully closed door behind you, freeing you to move forward with love, forgiveness and thankfulness for the lessons learnt – and allowing the universe to bring on your next challenge…..

Single is better – 4 great reasons to stay single

For a young woman, being single and/or dating around seems to be a trending topic right now (…and be careful ladies… it can be a contagious epidemic!! 😛 ) but for real – what with inspirational women such as Arianna Grande and Taylor Swift calling the media out, for the pressure they seem to put on us ladies, with their #sisterhood tweets… and all the other feminist leaders coming out the woodwork over the past few years – I’m really starting to wonder if perceptions and opinions may be changing for the better for us ladies…   

Taytay

I’ve been single/dating for a while now, and the main reason?!  I choose to be.  Now, don’t get me wrong… I may see an ex, for 5 minutes, every so often; start to remind myself of the good times or miss the love we once shared, only to end up feeling lonely and panicky that I’ll never find the one for me… I’m only human after all – but, for the most part, I am confident and secure that, when I feel ready, the partner of my dreams will show up and we’ll skip off into the sunset together, happily ever after!! 😛 I wanted to write this blog to let other women know that it’s ok to be single/dating around (and maybe to remind myself of my reasons when I am starting to feel those inevitable lonely times).  Throughout my singledom, I’ve often felt the need to date again due to societal pressures – however, in the process of experimenting with this, I’ve realised I have a pattern of continuing to go for emotionally unavailable men… I realise now, that this is because I actually WANT to be single, and literally just get to know a few guys, until I find the RIGHT person!

:)

So, without further ado… here are MY reasons for being single:

1.  Figuring out what I actually want in a man – truth is, in the past, I’ve often had conflicting views about what I actually want from a man.  Rather than getting with a whole bunch of people just because I’m a woman stud others keep asking me why I’m single, then realising later that we’re not actually compatible and breaking hearts, I’d personally rather just take a hiatus for a short while.

2. Bettering myself – If I expect certain standards from my man, then, I believe I should expect the same sort of standard from myself – I basically want to focus on myself spiritually, mentally and emotionally to ensure that I’m also the kind of person my dream guy would want to be with.  I want to…

  • know what I want.
  • have already worked through my past issues, relating to love, so I don’t project those issues into any new relationships.
  • have figured out what I want to do with my life so I can be self reliant and not have to rely on a man to keep me fed/a roof over my head.
  • make improvements to the way I communicate so I can be better understood by my future partner when going through the inevitable rough patches.
  • have an insight into how relationships/love work so I can at least attempt to avoid the mistakes I’ve made in the past or I’ve seen others around me make.

3. Freedom – I love having the freedom to do as I like, when I like – without feeling guilty or having to answer to someone else.  Two of the best years of my life have been when I was single, travelling and following my dreams without having to worry about whether my guy would accept my decision to do those things. …I mean, I found it really, pretty difficult to even commit to my current job… and I don’t even have to sleep with that!!! 😛

4. Experimentation – Let’s be honest… we all did it throughout high school, dating and kissing a few frogs before we found something we wanted for a bit more long-term.  So why is it so different now we’re in our 20’s/30’s?!  Is it because more people assume you’re sleeping with the guys you’re dating?  Is it because, for older generations, women weren’t quite so equal and were expected to simply take whatever her man offered her? I, personally, like to experiment and make sure what I think I want actually matches up to my expectations, standards and boundaries.  My basic needs require a certain level of love AND trust that can’t just be built intermittently – or overnight (like all those emotionally unavailable men!!). Finally, aside from things in the bedroom, my bestie gives me pretty much everything else I want from a man!! 😛 Now, don’t get me wrong… If the right man came into my life tomorrow, I’d allow the slow process of falling in love – but, until I meet him, I’m happy as I am… single. Are there any specific reasons for you that I may have missed out here?  Feel free to comment below with any more great reasons for being single! Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉