Ibiza in winter

 

This year’s winter in the UK has already been particularly long, grey and cold – worse than last year in my view. That said, I’d prefer it to sweating (southern hemisphere Christmas!), but this December it was time for a break, which is why we ended up in Ibiza for winter.

Last year we visited Copenhagen in Denmark and had some lovely family for Christmas company along for the ride. It was fantastic – a cool city and Tivoli Gardens, the world’s oldest operating amusement park, was a magical highlight.

However this year I wanted to change a couple of things with regards to an end-of-year break:

− it needed to be less expensive

− it needed to offer more of a mix of options to explore (travel), as well as options to rest

− it needed to be warmer!

 

Recalling that the Mediterranean seemed to be at least sunny when we cruised through back in January 2013, my research began …. And it started in August because previously I’ve left plans really late by which time flights everywhere are expensive.

Long story short, I found a good deal through British Airways holidays which included flights from London City airport (tick, that’s our closest); to Ibiza in Spain (double tick, always wanted to go!); staying at a central resort by the beach with American half board (so breakfast and dinners, including seven courses for our special Christmas meal were included in the package).

Yes, yes and yes.

old-town-ibiza in winter -travellivelearn-sarah-blinco

But like many of even the world’s biggest destinations, much is shut over Christmas, and in Ibiza even more so outside of its popular summer season.

Ibiza’s small local population swells about five times in summer, with the island boasting the usual beautiful delights of this part of Europe as well as allegedly ‘the best clubs in the universe’ (Ibiza is known as the home of dance music).

 

What to do in Ibiza in winter then? We suggest:

Walking or hiking

We were based along Figueretas beach which is situated about 15 to 20 minutes (easy) walk from the main island ‘city centre’, cruise marina, shopping strips and the ‘old town’.

Cooper and I enjoy being able to walk everywhere in a town, and it is an activity that is free, can be done in most weather conditions (although we got lucky with sunny days), and regardless of what’s open.

In Ibiza the walking or hiking options are endless, with beachfront, villages, cliffs and green hills to explore.

Only thing to be mindful of in our experience, is while it was warm throughout the day, temperatures dropped quickly around 4pm which could be a problem if you are far from home and all of a sudden not dressed appropriately.

ocean-ibiza in winter -travellivelearn-sarah-blinco

 

Creative exploration

It’s not a big stretch to imagine that a sun drenched Spanish island is pretty, and Ibiza certainly is.

From ocean to mountains, vineyards, cool street art, contemporary and old architecture blending as one, it’s a great destination for the modern content creator.

Photographers, videographers, writers and artists will find much inspiration, particularly as the light changes across the course of a day.

wall-ibiza in winter -travellivelearn-sarah-blinco

 

Boat rides and beaches

Unfortunately we just missed this option because of much being closed over Christmas, but there’s a number of day trips you can enjoy around Ibiza even in the winter (that said, try to book in advance online as there is far less operating than between April and October).

A ferry to Formentera (the smallest of Spain’s Balearic islands in the Mediterranean Sea) for a chilled out day by the crystal clear blue is something that was recommended and I’ll make it happen next time!

marina-ibiza in winter -travellivelearn-sarah-blinco

 

Sant Antoni is the main clubbing area and includes the famous sunset strip where summertime ravers enjoy shows by the world’s coolest DJs as the sun sets over the Med.

Pretty much everything is closed in winter with only a few cafes and restaurants operating to cater for the boating crowd. But for the curious (like me), for €2 bus no. 3 from Avenue d’Isidor Macabich (a main street in Eivissa’s city centre) will get you to where all the action takes place.

In about 25 minutes you’ll be on the other side of the island and can spot locations of some of the famous dance music fun-hubs like Cafe del Mar and Cafe Mambo.

Further reading: Ibiza’s best beaches and some of the island’s secret beaches via The Guardian travel.

 

The long lazy lunch

While most up this way in the world are rugged-up at Christmastime, we enjoyed still, warm and sunny 18 degree days. Best to make the most of it then!

We thought the Chinese cuisine was delicious and well priced at Restaurant Taiwan along Figueretas beachfront. Just up a bit from there is Oferta, a little family-run hole-in-the-wall (almost) business that was actually open when nothing else was. Their food was good, but don’t accidentally order the cheap local beer that turns out to be non-alcoholic – oops.

Next door to Oferta is a larger pub-like establishment, Bistro Magnus; and for a classy meal and cocktail with a view look up Cotton lounge bar, also positioned on the Figueretas waterfront.

Bondi at Sant Antoni is a cafe/bar/restaurant opposite the port, not too far from the bus station where we got off the no. 3 from the city centre. The food was delicious with many nice vege options on the menu. Friendly service too. Finally, back over on the Sant Antoni side is a beachfront restaurant called Hostal la Torre – sadly we didn’t get to it but it was recommended for sunset gatherings and if it’s as pretty as its pictures it wouldn’t disappoint.

We also frequently bought some nice cheese, salami and inexpensive wine from local Spar supermarkets for beach picnics. Along the main road Av D’Espanya there’s a few lovely bakeries where you can buy fresh baguettes and coffee to complete your DIY lazy long lunch experience.

sunset-ibiza in winter -travellivelearn-sarah-blinco

 

Just breathe

Meditation, yoga, mindfulness under the sun or even sun bathing – it’s all possible here in winter.

During the day when there’s no breeze it’s really warm; perfect conditions to ‘just be’.

In fact, along the promenade where we were staying I noticed many individuals happily spending quiet time bathed in sunlight; no phones, relaxing, tuning into the sound of the waves, no distractions (except for the odd dog, but even they seemed blissfully content).

hotel-ibiza in winter -travellivelearn-sarah-blinco

 

Next time

When a little more is operating (April to October), I’d like to:

  • Visit the hip and happy Hippy market
  • Book a four hour party boat ferry that cruises around the island
  • Indulge in a winery tour
  • Hike over to the mystical rocky island of Es Vedra in the north west, reputedly the island’s most magnetic point and with an energy similar to that of the Pyramids. I’m actually sure I spotted this when we were flying out at the end of our trip, but we’ll be back…
  • Explore Sant Josep some more – I wanted to make my way over to a little village called Es Cubells which promises a quaint church on a cliff top and a couple of authentic local bars, but the bus wasn’t heading there during our festive stay.


Getting around Ibiza

Organise hire of a bike, car or moped for an easier and independent look around the island’s main regions of Eivissa (central), Sant Josep de sa Talaia, Sant Antoni de Portmany, Sant Joan de Labritja and Santa Eularia des Riu.

Here’s a link to a downloadable PDF island guide and map we found helpful

There is an inexpensive bus service which you’ll need to study the map and website to navigate, and you need change to buy a ticket when boarding, but the service is clean and efficient. The no. 10 gets you to and from the airport to the city centre for €3.50 (single), otherwise a cab is about €15. There are many airport shuttle and pick-up services advertised online but they are totally overpriced so be careful not to be ripped off.

 

Other useful online Ibiza resources:

Ibiza Spotlight features lots of stories and tips for first time visitors on where to eat, travel, club, stay and spend your money.

Ibiza bus includes maps and timetables for the local service around the island.

Ibiza Tourism – official website.

 

More of Ibiza – view our Flickr gallery:

Spain, the islands

 

 

 

How I’m preparing for the new year

…out with the old ‘goals’ and in with some smart, mindful actions that are very NOW

I think after 37 years of experience I’m a little done with devising goals when preparing for a new year; but I do believe in setting intentions and maintaining some kind of vision about where you see yourself headed.

If you can’t see it (or importantly, feel it) then how do you know ‘it’ when it shows up?

I’m often asked about the processes I implement coming into a new year, because in recent times I’ve developed a suite of tools and tips that have proven to be helpful for friends trying to either set themselves up for the months ahead, or recover (faster) from bad news and tough times.

While we do have the opportunity at any time of the year to begin fresh; even any time of the month, week or day (and God knows I’ve been practising that recently), January is a nice time to try to set yourself up for a positive start.

I’d like to share what works for me, and what I’m doing now to prepare for the new year. Personally this year has had definite high points, however it ended up a bit rocky. But that’s ok – it’s life, right? As Anne [of Green Gables] says, each day is a chance to start fresh.

Onwards.

How I’m preparing for the new year

I seek positive, helpful books for reading during the holidays

I plan to use the holiday break to get stuck into a few good reads intended to motivate and inspire me. My go-to authors are people like Gabby Bernstein and Rebecca Campbell who write about life, business, spirituality and strategies on how to make space in your life for the important stuff, as well as how to move through difficult times faster.

Of course, your go-to books might be about goal setting, fitness, healthy eating, mindfulness or on a subject you aim to know more about in 2017 like learning a language. It’s all good!

I find investing just twenty minutes a day in reading something positive, interesting and helpful can shift your energy and perception. If you’re too tired to read, try finding a podcast or listen to audio books as an alternative.

 

I subscribe to regular free broadcasts

We’ve all heard of YouTube, but did you know you can utilise it for much more than getting the odd laugh out of dog and cat clips?

If you sign up for an account (and here’s why you should do that) you can subscribe to inspiring broadcasters you find on the platform. Some YouTubers now have more influence than most people on television, and no matter what you’re into, there’s a daily or weekly vlogger who can supply you with a dose of inspiration and motivation each week.

About a year ago I got into watching Doreen Virtue‘s weekly oracle card readings. She’s cute and quirky but quite possibly not for everyone (obviously, angel cards and tarot isn’t for everyone, anyway!). However, every Monday morning first thing I take a look at her ten to fifteen minute broadcast for the week (I’ve come to love her). She reads three cards that she pulls from a deck and quite surprisingly I find her readings to be accurate.

BUT I should stress that I’m not actually looking at this to view my ‘fortune’ for the week. I watch it for the messages I can take away to apply to situations in my life, whether they be challenging work or personal problems that I’m looking for a fresh perspective on, or words of wisdom I can share as advice with friends.

These resources are free and at our fingertips, and finding something to engage with on a regular basis that encourages a positive perspective shift – whatever you need – is a healthy way to pass the time, I think. It’s something I’ll focus on with any spare time this holiday season, and a habit I’ll continue into next year. I hope you choose to take advantage of this type of resource too.

 

I’ve engaged advice from a coach

An opportunity to work with a life and business coach popped up in my sphere very recently. I’ve engaged in this type of activity before but for a slightly different purpose (back then I had the intention of gaining a new perspective on building my own business). This time around, I’m aiming to see things differently in my life and career and to learn new strategies for dealing with situations that are unfamiliar to me.

I find I’m very happy to help and mentor others and am proud to have achieved a level of success in doing so. But when it comes to getting yourself out of a rut sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes – and someone who is trained in this art is even better!

In our first session I outlined issues that I could simply not see a way out of, and left the session with a set of action points that really gave me my power back and made me feel so so much better and in control.

I realised that engaging in this activity before the new year is preferable to starting after January 1 has ticked over (although obviously any time is a good time to begin).

When I talk about ‘coaching’ though, for you this could mean in the fitness, health, Yoga, meditation, business, personal or spiritual sense. I think we can all do with guidance, and you definitely need the help of the right person, but if you’re on the lookout for them, I believe you’ll know and feel it when they appear.

And of course, if you’re serious about making real change (eg. getting fit, quitting smoking) make a call and set up an appointment with an expert now, and maybe even invite a friend along too so you can keep each other accountable.

 

I get serious about gratitude

There’s no faster way to make yourself feel better or to attract positive things than to mindfully consider all the things and people you’re grateful for.

Big, small, unexpected or the constants in your life – begin it now and I guarantee in under 60 seconds you’ll feel better about yourself and the world.

Using kindness and gratitude as a tool moving into the new year, set the intention to remember these things; recall them, revisit the list, add to it and send a little love back to those people on it to remind them about the good in the world.

This isn’t about forgetting the atrocities that go on around us; on the contrary, it puts things into perspective and is a reminder to help out where we can. Also, by giving more energy to the drama the television news generates, we’re perpetuating that negativity and it’s not helpful!

There are just as many like-minded souls such as you and I who are doing our best to bring the light – we can never have or contribute too much of that!

 

On that note, I really enjoyed this story by Bernadette Russell in Balance Magazine (December 2016) on being kind at Christmastime and how often the nicest thing we can offer anyone is our time.

 

I write things down

Using a good old notebook or an app like Evernote or OneNote, write down the things you want!

I have several years worth of experience writing ideas, wishes, dreams, plans down (funnily enough, often done during long flights); I’ve written down what I want to see happen, that I intend or that I want… I have later come across these lists and am so surprised to see what has actually manifested!

The power of putting it on paper is proclaimed by so many motivational speakers, coaches, authors, successful entrepreneurs… you name it. I don’t know what the magic behind it is (although I know a bit about the Law of Attraction and believe it to be true from personal experience); but write it down because wow, I’ve seen it work first hand – even before I knew about any of the things I talk and write about today.

A tip: try not to be too manipulative when it comes to specifics around working in a certain business or seeking a particular person as your new romantic partner; a neat trick to try is writing down how you want to feel.

 

In other words, what you want or what is for the greater good might not come in the exact form you imagine, but it will come, and it will be better. Write it down.

 

In one of my favourite Gabby Bernstein lectures (via podcast on iTunes) she talks about how to develop what she calls a ‘desire statement‘.

The process is made up of three parts:

  1. Write down a list of what you want right now in your life;
  2. Then make another list about how these things will make you feel;
  3. Following this activity free write (that is, simply write whatever comes to mind, no editing) for two to ten minutes after pondering these things you want to receive in your life right now.
  4. When you’re done, go back and underline any significant words or phrases that particularly resonate with you.
  5. From there write and edit your ‘desire statement’ into a clean, succinct, positively worded paragraph that you should then read and reflect on day and night. Use language like, “I want to be abundantly rewarded for a job I love and in a workplace where I’m valued…” rather than, “I don’t want to have trouble paying my bills and I don’t want a job where I’m not respected.” (note the difference in language used).

Surround yourself with your new intention, read it aloud consistently, and watch it come to life.

This manifestation technique has worked for me and friends so I personally vouch for the process. All it takes to work is your time commitment.

If you want an example of one of these or would like input on your own for the new year, feel free to email me or drop me a line in the comments.

 

Christmas can be indulgent – who cares, just go with it. But be aware of balancing some healthy activity for your body, mind and soul.

After a tough few months I’ve become very aware of the fact that I don’t want to be someone who moans or ‘carries on’. Yes, life is filled with hard times, difficult characters, sickness, sadness, challenges both personal and professional, but without those things we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good. Nor would we be able to lean on faith and positive, nurturing activities that we can take responsibility for on our own (like the ideas I have outlined above)!

If I can help just one with something in here, then I’ve done my job. Drop me a line in the comments if an idea here has sparked inspiration in you, or if you have other tips to add then we’re always grateful to hear from you.

 

 

How to make your social media profile work for you

 

Why bother updating your social media profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or anywhere else you’re active online? Because you can build awareness around your own skills, passions and expertise in readiness for any positive career change you are seeking!

Here’s five ways you can make your social media profile work for you now.

 

What is a social media profile?

Your social media profile is the paragraph (or page) that you compose ‘about you’. You’ll spot all sorts of profiles around the web, ranging from some that say nothing at all about the person who owns them, all the way through to nicely crafted profiles that share the right mix of fun and professional elements about a person.

While it’s important (in my view) to make the most of the space you have on any of the platforms you might favour, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn, for anyone wanting to more effectively manage a professional online presence this year and next, LinkedIn is the one to polish, so it’s the social media profile I’ll allude to most in this piece.

LinkedIn is a particularly important tool for anyone who is:

– building a business

– building a personal brand or profile

– looking for a new job opportunity (now or possibly in the future)

Used effectively, you can be discovered by employers, recruiters and potential clients on LinkedIn based on your interests, experience and skills. It’s also really useful for growing your networks and influence. I’ve had success in both aforementioned areas through keeping my profile looking good.

As with anything in life, you only get out of it what you put in.

For this reason, it’s worth setting aside thirty minutes to craft your profile on LinkedIn, as well as any other key places on the web where you spend time developing or sharing content.

 

Five ways to make your social media profile work for you

Upload a profile photo

Not everyone loves having a photo of themselves on display, but in a professional setting it is helpful to give others an idea about who they are liaising with on the phone or via email.

Don’t you prefer it when you can put a face to a name?

A professional head/shoulders shot isn’t that hard to arrange these days, and this type of photo is preferable for use anywhere you are promoting yourself as an expert in your field.

While selfies, snaps taken at family barbeques or at the pub with friends are fun, consider how you want to be represented visually in a work context. It’s probably not in a blurry photo or with a glass of bubbles in your hand!

Pro tip: If you do not have access to a professional head shot for business purposes, ask someone you know who takes nice photos to snap several options of you against a clean background (e.g. white), and ensure you pay attention to the finer details like tidy hair, neat clothes and apply powder to your face if you tend to be shiny in pictures.

 

‘You’ in 140 characters

The ‘about me’ space in many of your social profiles including on Instagram and Twitter offers a chance to write a snapshot summary in around 140 characters that can showcase what you stand for.

I liken this to the 30 second elevator pitch concept; if this was all anyone was to read about you, be sure that it captures relevant details about your personality, professional intentions and experience.

 

Check your contact information

Make it easy for people to do business with you.

Always check your email address, phone number (if relevant) and social media links are up to date – it would be terrible to miss an email about your dream job or client because of a typo, incorrect link or broken alert forwarding set-up.

 

Details matter

The ‘details’ involved in the various sections across LinkedIn or even the additional extras you can add to your Google+ or Facebook profiles may take you a little longer to complete, but it’s the most important part.

Here you have the chance to share exactly what you do as part of your job, the knowledge you have that may help others, what you’ve previously achieved and what your core skills are, so don’t be shy!

Pro tip: Just as you should for any online copy (think SEO (search optimisation)), think about the key terms those looking for your skills and services might use if they were searching for you.

Be careful not to use phrases that are too clever (will others actually search for that if they need someone with your expertise?); but by the same token, if you have experience in a niche area like speaking a foreign language or coding, be sure that it’s mentioned so it appears in the search.

 

Have fun

Finally, don’t be afraid to mention a quirky or fun fact that might mean you find something in common with an industry counterpart.

For me, being a ‘dog person’  has meant I can have a joke and conversation about our furry friends with others I’ve met (online or in person) who feel the same … then we get on with business.

In any situation where we are networking, finding common ground is always really helpful. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s often not the work-related aspects of our lives that help us forge fast bonds with people we work with but rather, it’s about those commonalities around passions, hobbies and life experiences.

 

Time to take action

make your social media profile work Sarah Blinco LinkedIn updatesOver to you…

But if you need assistance with your professional social media presence and profile coming into 2017 I’m resurrecting strictly limited social media consulting and copy editing services over the holidays and at discounted rates (it’s Christmas, after all!) for anything booked before 3 January 2017.

Email me for more information and to let me know what you need help with.