Points of View



I've never had to write this sort of post on my blog before and although I guess that's good going in seven years of blogging, I just feel really sad and disappointed that I have had to write this.

My blog has always been my creative outlet. I wear my heart on my sleeve - (this too can get me into trouble) but at the very least I always try to be authentic and true to my own beliefs and interests here.  I'm not perfect and neither is the blog.  I think and speak quickly, I work quickly and I type quickly.  That is why I originally turned to yoga to work at slowing myself and my thoughts down! My faults have certainly never held me back in the opportunities which have come my way and when I know what my faults are I really do try to remedy them. I know that this is also true of other friends who blog.

Take me or leave me and quite frankly the same goes for my blog.

I've never understood people who complain but don't actually action their complaints.  I guess you may need to be of a 'certain age' to remember the 1980's tv programme 'Points of View'.  People who were obviously frustrated would take the effort to write in (yes actually write in those days) to complain about things which they had watched on tv and been offended by.  As my dad used to say "if you don't like it, there's a switch there on the tv, turn the bloody thing off"! 

If a blog, an article or a tv show makes mistakes, then turn those thoughts of frustration into something productive. Have a go at writing an even better blog, article or tv show. Until anybody actually tries to do the very thing they are criticising it's not very credible to stand in judgement. 

If anybody is pedantic, dislikes emojis, spelling and grammatical errors then read something else.  If anybody doesn't like me, my family or what I write, also .... read something else.  This is a real blog, warts and all.  Any mistakes I have made grammatical or otherwise (and sadly there have been a few mistakes I have made recently) will be staying firmly here on this blog.  

I'm not a full time or a paid blogger.  I'm also not a journalist, if I was I would have an Editor. Chronicles of Dolliedaydream is my hobby and it has given me the wonderful opportunity to meet with some lovely people from all around the world, I have always written it from the heart and whilst juggling; - working and looking after a young family.

We make our own opportunities in life.  I've been brought up to work hard and if things don't work out to try again, but not to expect things to be handed to me on a plate.  I guess by the very nature of social media, (with all the pretty pictures and people promoting what looks like the perfect life) it can be easy to assume that opportunities come easily.  They don't!  I've been writing my blog since 2008.   

If anybody is looking to read a perfect piece of literature then may I suggest you head down to your library....  I've worked in the library industry for years and they certainly need all the support they can get at the moment.  And, as some of my other blog pals have pointed out, if everybody took the time to understand how the blog world worked - the more publicity and clicks we get through to our blogs and posts, the more PR approaches we get.  

Don't they say there is no such thing as bad publicity? 

*(I am laughing because I think there is a grammatical error on that photograph!  It honestly wasn't intentional).
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Mediterranean Delights Fitness Voyage - Part Two








Serendipity, fate, call it what you will, sometimes the stars really do align and things seem to turn out for a reason.  I grew up with my mum's mantra of "if it's meant to be, it's meant to be" and that is certainly how I felt when I received Cindy's e-mail introducing her wonderful company MEDITERRANEAN DELIGHTS FITNESS VOYAGE and inviting me to join a Greek voyage as a guest blogger.

With a shared interest and joy in travel and fitness, Cynthia Paulauskas and her partner Ali Ihsan Yalcin have combined their small businesses to privately charter a beautiful Turkish gulet boat around Turkey and Greece.

Currently run in the quieter and cooler months of June and September, the cruise is marketed as an adventure and fitness holiday

Definitely not one to turn down exploring a new adventure and despite the fact I am a yoga teacher, I wouldn't describe myself as neither sporty nor outdoorsy.  For those who know me well, will know that I have never camped and I do not travel far without my trusty hairdryer.

Although I can turn my hand at a game of tennis and I am a keen horse rider, holidays in the past have usually comprised of higher end hotels where I can pose poolside with a cocktail in hand.  Well, admittedly I was also to be found with a cocktail in hand from time to time on this holiday too!

Having initially liaised with Cindy briefly about the itinerary, as well as introducing myself and my yoga teaching, we were able to organise for me to join the boat in Rhodes in June with two travel companions.  I was privileged to join the boat as a guest blogger and a paid yoga instructor.

What an adventure we had! You can read my rather emotional response to the holiday in PART ONE of my blog review.  Although I was a guest of the boat I can honestly say that hand on heart, I would recommend this holiday to absolutely everyone.  It turned into the most wonderful experience. An opportunity to try something I wouldn't ordinarly do and an opportunity to explore Greece and Turkey, neither of which I have travelled to in the past.

The holiday runs from a Wednesday to Wednesday, strategically organised to run a day in advance of the other gulet boats and therefore on the whole, to avoid the crowds.  

Our home for the eight day/seven night trip was the beautiful, wooden gulet - MuhtesemA who more than lived up to her name of 'The Magnificent'.   












The Boat
A private, sixteen person, Turkish yacht, the boat has sails and a motor, although on these chartered cruises due to schedule timings, the sails are not in use.  

There are a selection of double and twin rooms, four situated at the front of the boat and four at the back.  Each with it's own private bathroom and shower, fitted wardrobes(with hangers) and electricity points, which can be used when the generator is in use. The rooms are mostly wooden, simply furnished but very clean and with everything you may need. Hand and bath towels are provided and changed once during the trip, as was the bedding, however the crew were happy to change more frequently if requested. Each passenger is also provided with a different coloured pestamel (Turkish towel)to be used for sunbathing around the deck. 

This is a holiday all about balance, it's not a hard core detox trip.  There is a small honesty bar on board with a range of spirits, local wine, prossecco/champagne, beer and soft drinks. Guests are welcome to have a tipple with lunch and dinner, relax and sunbathe with a beer during the day or pop open a bottle of champagne in the evening!  The crew keep an informal tab which is settled at the end of the holiday. Complimentary bottled water is available throughout the trip.  

There is plenty of room on the boat to kick back and enjoy the holiday, as well as to find your own space and some peace and quiet.  

Still not quite sure about correct boating terminology but in 'my world' the 'front deck' was home to our yoga area, where there are plenty of comfy cushions and beanbags to relax and nap on, as well as my favourite colourful yoga mats.  Fellow blogger and journalist Patricia at Sporty Over Forty and I liked to co-ord ours with our outfits each day :-)   



It took me about two nights to become accustomed to being on-board and get a full nights sleep.  Just a matter of taking earplugs and getting used to the new noises, movement and (on occasion) smell of the diesel. It's not a holiday if you enjoy a lie in (I have a three year old and never get a lie in, so that wasn't a problem for me!), but we were all mostly up and about by 6.30-7am which was just perfect to watch the sun rising as we completed our sun salutations!          

The Activities










Each evening at dinner Ali would read out the itinerary for the following day.  This was one of the joys of the trip, being able to sit back and relax and to have everything already organised.  None of the activities are compulsory but you would be missing out not to join in.  Being a 'quote of the day' addict on social media I also loved hearing and trying to stick to our 'Proverb of the day'!

Each day begins with an early morning fitness class followed by breakfast.  Typically mornings on the Greek voyage were spent out at sea travelling to one of the many beautiful islands we visited.

Leaving my three year old and family at home, I was delighted that there was more than enough time for me to relax and sunbathe. On average we were never out at sea for longer than three hours. Depending on location our activities ranged from belly dancing, Greek cookery classes, a volcano hike, movie nights on-board and raki tasting. To nights out in Kos on the old cocktails to diving of the side of the yacht for a ride on the hotdog inflatable dinghy.

The highlight of the trip for me was a trip to the traditional Turkish Hammam in Datca.  More about that, as well as the other places we visited in my next post!    

The Fitness








Cindy has managed to collate an impressive list of trainers from around the world who lead fitness on each of the cruises.  Generally there is a different style of fitness on each voyage.  This varies from yoga, to circuit training and acrobatics!  The teachers are qualified and trained to adapt their classes to the pace of the group, with opportunities for the more sporty to be challenged should they wish.  I taught our yoga classes twice a day, an hour class in the morning usually starting anytime between 6.30 and 7.30 am and a 30-45 minute class late afternoon. 








The other main part of the fitness itinerary is hiking. 

I would thoroughly recommend taking part in all of the walks. Lightweight hiking boots or a strong pair of trainers would be recommended.  We were able to visit some beautiful locations including a hike up the island of Symi, through a live volcano in Nisyros and a walking tour of Kos town. The walks lasted around 2-3 hours max in-order that everybody, whatever their level of fitness could join in.  The fitter ones had the opportunity to jog, the slower members of the group to take it at their own pace and take in the incredible views. There were also plenty of pit-stops to take photos, buy cake and eat ice-cream!

For me I think the holiday would be better pitched as a wellness holiday rather than a fitness holiday, as I would hate this to put the less sporty amongst us off considering the trip.  It really is for everyone.

The Food  
















Oh my goodness the food!  As well as building the boat Aytekin is a trained chef having worked in a number of five star kitchens in Turkey. You certainly won't starve on this holiday and there are no excuses not to indulge because you can work off those extra calories during the fitness classes and walks.

Turkish Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are all included in the price of the trip.  The meals are served and eaten family style and at a communal table.  

Breakfast
Rise to a welcoming pre breakfast of tea and coffee before you head off for an hours yoga. The classes are followed by a traditional Turkish breakfast.  This included fresh bread and butter, plates of tomatoes and cucumber, feta and other Greek or Turkish cheese, eggs, omelette, chorizo, olives and a selection of jam, honey and delicious tahin-pekmez which is a Turkish condiment made from grape molasses and tahini.  The only thing I missed at breakfast was yoghurt and fruit, in particular bananas and smoothies - but that's just me!

Lunch
Depending on the day's itinerary lunch is served either on-board or in pre-booked local cafes and restaurants.  On-board we enjoyed (mostly vegetarian) Turkish and Greek mezze and a great selection of mixed nutritious salads. On our trips out we were also very well looked after. The meals ranged from amazing Greek kofta in a lively restaurant in Rhodes town, to the most delicious calamari and beer party, served by a family in a pretty little fishing village on the island of Nisyros.

Afternoon Tea
As if lunch wasn't quite enough (!) you could take a little afternoon break from sunbathing or relaxing to enjoy tea or coffee with biscuits and raki! 

Dinner
8pm the dinner bell would be rung as we all rushed back to the table for yet more food! We were treated to a different meal every evening. From fresh seas bass cooked on the bbq at the edge of the boat, to traditional Turkish Manti with Yoghurt Sauce (Turkish Ravioli) which was absolutely delicious. Aytekin and the crew coped exceptionally well to accommodate a range of different weird and wonderful dietary requests and the vegetarian meals were delicious. 

In addition we were treated to a Greek cookery class one afternoon when we were able to prepare our own Turkish borek and stuffed peppers for dinner.  On another afternoon a DELICIOUS homemade banana and cream birthday cake transpired from the kitchen for us all to share! 

The Guests






The Guests
Our particular group was made up of a mix of thirteen fellow bloggers, journalists, travel writers, travel agents, foodies, and an anaesthetist!   A diverse group in terms of background and ages, and I felt this made for a great mix. New friendships were formed and everybody seemed to feel comfortable enough to dip in and out of conversation and group activities as they pleased.




Having never sailed before, I set off with an open mind, not knowing what to expect at all about both the accommodation and the trip. I have travelled as far afield as India, taken part in group yoga holidays in the past, lived on an ashram and attended boarding school (a long time ago!).  I am therefore accustomed to working and travelling with people I have never met before, as well as eating, exploring and socialising in a community type environment and this trip would suit fellow travellers with the value of shared experience.  I would actually describe myself as a bit of a Princess when it comes to my home comforts and I did not struggle or miss anything at all on the boat.  

Cindy, Ali, Aytekin and the crew went out of their way to welcome us all and make the holiday magical.  They took everything in their stride, and handled our range of personalities with tact, kindness and good humour. They were beyond accommodating when it came to individual requests for food, assistance etc. (Mine was asking for the generator in-order I could use my hairdryer!). If I was a female travelling alone I would also have felt very comfortable with the all male crew. 




My Tips

  • If you are traveling alone I would recommend paying the single supplement for a private cabin.
  • If you are traveling as a couple, chose your travel companions carefully!  On the whole I felt there was always enough room and places to seek privacy or alone time when needed.  However I did feel myself edging towards cabin fever on one or two occasions in the shared twin room.
  • Take earplugs - I'd never used them before and I did on the cruise.  Some evenings the yacht is moored out at sea, others harbour-side - which can be noisy. 
  • I didn't need to use tablets or feel sea-sick at all during the trip.
  • Pack lighter than I did - although that is a given for me on most occasions!  I took EIGHT, yes eight pairs of shoes - you can't wear shoes on the boat.
  • If you are a fellow poser throw in a few extra hangers for the wardrobe.
  • Go with an open-mind.  It's an ADVENTURE holiday after all!  
  • Take part - Ali and Cindy have put so much effort into organising the perfect trip, I wanted to try everything (apart from the banana boat!).  There is plenty of time to relax, nap and take time out when the yacht is at sea, so make the most of the evenings and days out to get to know your fellow guests and explore.  
  • If you are traveling on the Greek voyage from the UK be prepared to spend an extra night or two away from home in advance of the trip.  The boat sets sails from Rhodes mid afternoon on a Wednesday and in my experience there wasn't a huge choice of flights from the South West.
  • In my opinion this is an amazing trip and would be perfectly suited to couples, single travellers, small groups of friends and for corporate team building.
  • Do not miss the trip to the Turkish Hammam! 
If you are currently considering booking a holiday to Turkey or Greece, I would not hesitate to recommend Mediterranean Fitness Delight Voyage.  There are four voyages organised for this September  2015 or book ahead for next June/September 2016 when I hope to be joining the boat again and leading yoga on one of the Turkish trips!

You can find out more information and book direct with Cindy here:
http://mdfvoyage.com

You can also read a selection of my fellow travellers reviews here, also reviews from three of the other voyages:
http://mdfvoyage.com/thereviews

More in Part Three about the islands we visited...!

* I was thrilled to be invited as a guest and paid instructor of MDFV as well as travelling with two companions.  We were responsible for paying for our own flights from the UK as well as one nights accommodation in Rhodes Town before the boat set sail.  

          





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Keeping Summer Simple With The J.Crew Sale

J.Crew Summer Sale



Keep summer simple and your packing light with these great mix and match pieces from the J.Crew sale. 

Classic beach ready separates in monochromes and stripes. My picks will have you looking chic wherever you are holidaying this summer.  Perfect for posing along the Promenade Des Anglais or practical enough for the Cornish coast!  

Where are you all off to this year?

xxx   


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