Quackers about snow.

Really Joanna? You called your post, quackers about snow? Even the daily mail would be embarrassed by that title. The reason for the title is both duck related and snow related. See? Maybe only funny if you have the humour level of a 6 year old like me.

So, I was wondering what to write about this morning and then read Julia’s post about a beautiful bird she found in the snow. Which reminded me of a fabulous duck we spotted whilst going for a long walk in the snow.  Distance wise it wasn’t that long only a couple of miles, it felt long though because duck aside there were quite a few moans about being dragged in the freezing cold for a walk around the lake. Snow boredom had set in. Promises of hot chocolate and lunch in our favourite tea rooms afterwards helped……a bit.

So as we were wandering around Leighton Buzzard waterways we came across this beauty.

The photo was taken on a phone so the colours are not brilliant but it was truly stunning with an array of the most beautiful colours. It was spotted by my 9 year old son who is a wildlife and nature lover.

Any ideas what it is? My husband is the bird twitcher in this house and he didn’t know.

Have a happy Monday


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Its all in the mind…………honest

So a New Year and with that comes goals, resolutions or whatever else you want to call plans made in the first part of January. I have been no different and have my own list of things I want to achieve during 2013. Some doable some maybe not but hey they are on the list. It was an article in the Jan/Feb edition of Om Yoga Magazine that caught my eye and made me view the way I approach my resolutions differently.

In the section Meditation of the Month, Jill Lawson writes about finding success in achieving goals. It talks about visualisation during meditation. Not a new thing on its own, but this time it is about visualising your goals and taking it that step further by seeing yourself achieving these goals.

I run a small weight loss group which doesn’t follow any particular eating plan being more about tackling why we go to food for comfort. I attempt to get my clients to change their habits and learn to listen to their bodies over the voices in their heads telling them to devour the mars bar. People who struggle with their weight are more often than not led by their mind as opposed to their body telling them to eat. A tough habit to break and one that I struggle with daily. This week I took lead from this article and asked them to go away and each time the need to ransack the kitchen occurred,  visualise their end goal. It could be to see themselves in a little black dress that they can no longer fit into or on their summer holidays without worrying about the need to cover up. It could just be smiling and feeling far more confident in their skin. Isn’t the latter something we would all like to achieve?

Chatting about this at the yoga studio after Mysore class, my teacher and friend Cathy mentioned how she had chatted to another yoga student about a similar method. This time it is visualising goals you want to achieve as you fall asleep. So instead of your worries fleeting through your mind as you try to drop off, picture yourself completing  the London Marathon, on your yoga mat or in my case receiving a box of first editions of my book (obviously published to great reviews!). Not only are you falling asleep on a positive, you are reaffirming your intentions on a daily basis.

So why not give it a go?

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Receipts receipts and receipts

So November and December have been incredibly busy which is marvellous. I’ve sold via my Etsy shop, website and facebook. What did we do before the days of social media? The downside though of working for myself is the dreaded accounts.


I have a big envelope full of receipts, a pile of paid invoices and a spreadsheet not saying much really. Considering pre-children I was a financial controller you would think that my accounts would be ship shape. Eeek no. So today and tomorrow are meant to be getting organised days. So far, I have made hummus and soda bread. Both of which I can safely say are marvellous and yummy but none of which are particularly constructive.

I have also been doing the charleston around my kitchen to the beautiful sounds of Caro Emerald who is just amazing. All in all a very enjoyable morning but not constructive.

One of my highlights during November was getting an order for teacher yoga bags – to hold multiple yoga mats in to take to class. It was quite a stressful order as obviously I needed to design from scrath. I am quite pleased with the result though.


Right must get on with the dreaded receipts, receipts, receipts (yawn).

have a marvellous Christmas

Jo x


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Eye Eye

Hello. I am off to the yoga show tomorrow armed with flyers for my bag site. Really really happy with this bag hot off the press today

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words, words, words

Approximately a year ago, I wrote a book; well the first draft of a book through Nanowrimo. Mine is called ‘Death on a Yoga Mat’ and it isn’t the first time I have completed Nanowrimo but it is the first time I have thought that the story idea is actually okay. The thing is though a fast outpouring of words over the space of a month is actually easier than you would imagine. Well easier if words are your thang. The redrafting however is a nightmare, I think so anyway. This is why a year has passed without me even reading more than the odd sentence. There has always been a nagging voice at the back of my head however, telling me how fab it would be if it was finished and published. How blooming marvellous in fact.

Nanowrimo is absolutely brilliant because it gives you the opportunity to get the words onto paper, it doesn’t however give you the opportunity to edit what you have written. So, at the end you are left with all of these ideas, characterisations and conversations that basically need rewriting. When do you do this?

As I work for myself making yoga bags, eye pillows, evening bags and scarves my time is pretty much taken up with sewing and then looking after my two children. There is an instant impact with a scarf. You make it, you sell it, the creative process is complete and cash is in your pocket. Lovely. Writing is painful, slow going and generally unsuccessful.

This lunchtime as I walked past one of my favourite houses in the village set back off the road wearing a cloak of fog, something clicked inside me. Enough with the procrastination, get your butt in gear Joanna and start checking the meandering mass committed onto  usb last year.

So I am starting the redraft of Death on a Yoga Mat today. Wish me luck.

In other news I am off to the London Yoga Show on Sunday, who else is going? If you are there on Sunday, I’ll be the redhead handing out flyers for funkyyogabags.

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Chickens, children and an attempt at calm

When I see photos on blogs of people’s home ashtanga practise they seem to be taken in a calm spacious room, maybe a few candles in the corner. I imagine their practise is graceful and led purely by their breath.

In my house, this kind of serene practise never happens. A home practise does happen but with children climbing over my legs or popping their head through whilst I am in downward dog to ask for toast. If that is not happening then the chickens are pecking on the garden doors because they can see me. If they can see me then surely I should be feeding them right?

I have booked myself on to two David Swenson workshops in Triyoga next month so I figured that I need to make  my practise a bit more frequent. Less procrastination more mat time. Obviously I could get up extroadinarily early before the rest of the family including the chickens are awake. I could list the many reasons why this is not going to happen but an inability to get out of bed is probably the main one. I could submerge myself entirely to my breath and ignore the rabble around me which sometimes is achievable, other times when the children have decided to sit in pillow cases and slide down the stairs…………………………………………quite.

I never regret getting on my mat and always feel better afterwards so surely the only obstacle is me. Hmm a stubborn redhead, one of the most resistant forces in life.

Answers on a postcard please


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I am not a robot

I know that I am not a robot, my limbs move I have independent thought and generally do not follow instructions. I cry, laugh and skip in unlikely places (mostly to embarrass my children).  Plus I am already aching from my Mysore class this morning. Surely a robot wouldn’t ache, they would have lots of hinges in places that make marichyasana D accessible without grunting, pain and face contortion. So why is it that I doubt my non-robot status every time I either subscribe to something or try to leave a comment on a particularly interesting blog post?

The letters you are asked to copy down bear no blooming resemblance to anything I have seen before. It must be a new font, the I AM NOT A ROBOT BUT UNABLE TO PROVE IT font. Is it just me that has to have three or four goes at the thing? Maybe it is old age, maybe I need new glasses. Maybe I am in fact a robot.

(wanders off to apply WD40)

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This afternoon I was meant to be at Triyoga in Soho enjoying an arm balancing workshop with Kino MacGregor.  I booked the tickets 10 months ago and had been looking forward to it. Unfortunately I became ill in March and was ill for about 8 weeks.  In September I had minor surgery. Although I kept my practise going through this time it all had a major impact on my strength and performance. Instead my mate Sarah has taken my ticket. I am gutted not to be there.  In life and especially in yoga, you just have to accept what your body is capable of at this precise time.

I think everyone who practises yoga and certainly the ones I know from Ashtanga know that as your body changes from day to day, so does your time on the mat. One of the major lessons of yoga has nothing to do with the physicality of the practise but is about letting go of ego. This is tough. We may not think of ourselves as egotistical but knowing that a week ago you could bind in supta kurmasana or marichyasana d doesn’t necessarily mean that it will happen today. The fact that we know we could do it can mean we force out body’s further than they want to go  rather than accepting today’s limitations.

So although I am a tad grumpy that I am not in Triyoga with Kino today, I am happy that a mate is enjoying the experience and know that actually, in all honesty she is far far better at tackling arm balances than me.  There is always next year. I will content myself with  a small home practise.

In other news I am starting a range of eye pillows. They will be filled with organic linseed and the scented range will have dried lavender flowers. I never use a blanket at the end of practise but I do love the eye pillows.

Don’t forget to say hello if you have read my witterings



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First Post

Hi, so this is my very first post as funky yoga bags. I have had other blogs detailing my sewing antics but I have started this one so that i can not only chat about making yoga bags; but also about my yoga practise. Obviously it will be lovely to get to know other yogis.

So then, I am Joanna and I am setting up my own yoga bag business. All the bags are designed and made by me. They are funky in that the fabric is more colourful than the average yoga bag.

The website is up and running and I am currently working my way through metres of fabric and cotton to get the stock made. Up until now, my yoga bags have either been sold by direct order or through the studio where i practise in BErkhamsted, BayYoga But recently I took the plunge, resigned from my job to immerse myself fully into the world of fabric and pins.

I practise Ashtanga yoga and I would love to say that I practise every morning before I get on with my day, but I don’t. My home practise goes through fits and starts and very rarely can I make it through the full primary series at home. I am hoping that by writing this blog, my motivation, determination and will power will magically spring up and turn a 5.30am start 6 days a week into a joy rather than at thing of madness.

I kind of fell into Ashtanga. As a mother of two small children with a husband that works overseas most weeks, a yoga class needed to be local and fit into my lifestyle. Of course teachers change their times which meant that I moved class from time to time and with that the style of yoga practised. Yoga is a thing of calm and beauty whichever umbrella it ducks under but Ashtanga did click completely with me. So when I found it, I stuck with it and I have a fab instructor Cathy in Berkhamsted who knows how far physically I can go but also which barriers my mind will throw up. (the whole headstand fear will be probably be discussed later as well as drop backs).

I think Ashtanga works for me in a Mysore style class because I am not listening for instructions, my body knows where it is supposed to go so my mind remains calm (especially after I have moved past Prasarita Padottanasana C which although I can do physically I do not enjoy!). Maybe I am a control freak and like the fact that I am the one dictating when I move from asana to asana (ha did I just say maybe?). It is also the fact that it combines strength, flexibility and fitness. Whatever the reason I love it and strive to make my practise deeper and to overcome the hurdles within the series – they are too numerous to mention here.

SO yes, this blog will basically be my wittering about my personal practise with a bit of fabric joy thrown in. If you have taken the time to read this please say hi.


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