July’s been a month of interesting surprises for me… can’t divulge all here coz some things needs to remain a mystery heh heh 😀 In terms of ups and downs, it’s all still pretty turbulent: some days for a few hours I felt like myself again, especially when in the presence of friends, but other days not so much. Lack of sleep, lots of coffee and little food has not helped either! But as it’s summer, my diary is very full and I have made the effort to hibernate less and see people. Life is as busy as ever.
This month, I also felt like I am being a better friend to my nearest and dearest, and have felt the same support in return, which I value so much. If you’re my friend then you know how fiercely loyal I am and that I expect the same in return. You guys know who you are and what you mean to me and the pillar of support you provide in my life. Shout out to Nadia and Tom for supporting me a lot this month when I haven’t been feeling my best. Also, I’ve cried waay too much this month – PEOPLE STOP MAKING ME CRY THANKS.
Downloaded Amazon Music Unlimited free trial and now I’m listening to all ze music woop for fweeeeee. Wooop.
Tone Stith – Can We Talk (EP)
Drake shared a post of him on his Instagram account so I went to check it out. I was surprised that I really ended up enjoying it – all the songs on his EP aren’t super great or anything but I enjoyed listening to his voice, which is an eclectic mix of Babyface, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber? I think I’m just enjoying anything that remotely reminds me of old school R&B. Some of his covers on Youtube are also a really easy listen. I would definitely recommend checking him out if this is the type of music you’re into; he seems up and coming.
H.E.R. – Volume 1 and Volume 2
Just came across her stuff on Youtube – you know how when one video ends and another one begins without your permission? That’s how I ended up listening to all her stuff. When her songs would come up automatically in the past, I used to actively switch to something else, but this time I ended up listening to it in the background as I was absorbed in something else that I was doing on my laptop. Turns out I like some of H.E.R. songs – lol. She’s masquerading as a mysterious R&B singer signed to RCA, but recently her identity has been revealed as Gabi Wilson. I don’t like all the songs, just one or two; it’s not normally the stuff I listen to but think I was just feeling like I needed some mellowness at the time so just listened to it in the background. Yes, it’s good background music that’s what it it. I would recommend a listen if you like R&B mellowness, which appears to be my go-to vibe as of late.
Britney Spears – Oops… I Did It Again
Throwbacks going strong this month. I used to listen to this album so much growing up! ‘When your eyes say it’ for whatever reason seems to be the song of choice – amongst ALL my sisters. Driving with this on and singing to it like it’s karaoke has been far too enjoyable. My niece has been down from Newcastle this month too and so there’s been a lot of nostalgia ❤ You can’t beat the 90s!
Jessie Ware – Tough Love
Why have I only managed to get around to listening to this now? SO GOOD. I call it depresso music – and it’s my favourite kind.
Podcast – Modern Love
I’ve really got into listening to podcasts this month, and have finally found something that I actually like. I stumbled onto it accidentally as I was reading an article on psychology, and then ended up listening to the Modern Love episode link (Episode 30 – ‘To Fall in Love, Do This’ – would highly recommend!) in the middle of the night as I was struggling to sleep. So then I went onto iTunes podcasts store thingy and downloaded more episodes. They are real stories of people’s experiences with love, loss and redemption, and the format in which they are presented is fantastic. A professional actor/actress reads the story and then the real person who submitted the story is interviewed at the end. I can’t recommend this series enough! If you follow me on Instagram, it’s all over my insta-stories – which I did a daily log of whilst I was on holiday. In addition to episode 30, I would highly recommend episode 59 and episode 10, although everything I have listened to so far has been very good. Enjoy!
All sorts… I’ve been jumping from book to book this month – attention span so shit lately. But I’ve been reading both fiction and non-fiction, not that I’ve managed to finish anything- Anna Karenina, The Gut Revolution, A Little History of Philosophy, Adventures in Human Being… still addicted to buying more books than I can read… : /
Game of Thrones
Loving watching the latest series and discussing it every Monday with others who watch it too. The first two episodes were a bit slow in terms of action – it felt like they were laying the ground work for action. Was glad to see things taking off in episode 3 – every scene was like BOOOOOM. Things finally getting saucy. Still think Little Finger is sexy af and untrustworthy af. Jon Snow finally manning up. Dany coming into her own. Stark family being reunited ❤ Woop looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series unfolds. Are you watching it? What are your thoughts so far? Who do you think will end up on the throne, or who do you want to end up on the throne? Let me know in the comments section below. Personally I think it will be someone really unexpected, like Tyrion or Theon LOL
More like DRINKING WAAY TOO MUCH COFFEE THIS MONTH. LEGIT EVERYDAY. Shop bought £2+ coffee everyday! :CRYING EMOJIII:. This is why I am afraid to look at my bank statements. :MORE CRYING EMOJIIIIESS: :DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET EMOJIS ON WORDPRESS SO JUST IMAGINE IT:
I’ve had pretty much 0 appetite for a while now so getting food down me hasn’t been the easiest of tasks and feeling perpetually sick. So hopefully feel better in August and Fatwana returns in moderate form. Literally lost 5 pounds in 5 days while I was sick earlier this week. However I have been eating out quite a bit this month as I am attempting to be less anti-social. Dietlife is suffering though wah.
Went to a few new places – Tossed in London, when I visited for the day and saw an old university friend.
The usual Handmade Burger & Co. in Southampton, although they didn’t have halal chicken available when I was there – was super annoyed – so went veggie.
Went to the amazing Lakaz Maman, the Mauritian street food kitchen – literally everything on the menu is sooooo good and it’s halal too! It’s one of my favourite places and never fails to impress me. I’m slowly working through every dish on the menu!
Made a visit to Diego’s with Tom. I hadn’t been in ages and it’s good for peri-peri style chicken since the several Nando’s in Southampton are not halal. We had a whole chicken platter and large side salad to share and the most hilarious conversation. More on the ‘3 C’s’ that I came up with below – it’s a MUST READ.
Went to Greg’s Bistro too – this is a lovely little place opposite Mayflower Theatre, and serves the most delicious food – fresh fish on the daily. Had a really lovely afternoon there with the rain pouring down outside – would highly recommend. Great date spot and staff are super friendly. Forget to take photo of food coz didn’t wanna look weird in front of the person I was with lool. Would highly recommend and want to go again at some point.
Also had more afternoon tea, although hardly touched any of it as my appetite was really poor that day. It was to celebrate two of my friends moving onto their next rotation – yes they’re medics.
Top right pic is a magic super healthy veggie bowl that my lovely niece made for me. She was down for a week and bit to visit us from Newcastle and that girl can do food goooood! Put all her aunties to shame!
This month has been quite the #foodie month…
Have wanted to go for agesss. My lovely sister Jamila drove there for the day and I was finally able to get the yummy Mulberry bag and number ‘3’ charm for my Pandora bracelet that I’ve wanted for ages! The ‘3’ is for the 3 stone I lost last year 🙂
But managed this in 5 mins the other night as I was like GOTTA WRITE SOMETHING THIS MONTH OTHER THAN THIS MONTHLY UPDATE THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS.
As you may know, or not know, I started ‘dating’ again at the start of this year, after taking out last year – 2016 – to focus purely on myself. I have been blessed in most areas of my life – but when it comes to, ahem, my love life – not so much. I sort of gave up in March and started making plans for future spinsterdom quite happily.
If you know me then you know that I’m a tough nut to crack. It’s not because I enjoy being difficult (well, sometimes I do heh heh), it’s just due to previous experiences, and as a girl, it’s natural to be more protective of my feelings. However, I have decided to give meeting people another go because I’m 26 and apparently still young. Also because I can no longer take the despairing looks Mother Quadir keeps throwing at me regarding my bleak, manless and childless future – what can I say, ASIAN MUMS INNIT.
Well, it’s all a new experience for me, because for the first time, in like in ages, I am actually enjoying being wooed – hear hear! The thing that I have realised recently is that, growing up, and being constantly bombarded with commercial, Bollywood (lol) and Hollywood ideals of love, romance and expectations, can be awfully damaging to the psyche and the expectations one develops when it comes to forming real relationships, just like the impact of watching porn can have on people’s sex lives and ideas around intimacy (there are loads of studies on this btw if you wanted to check it out – fascinating stuff). So yeah, growing up, you develop all these out of touch frameworks of what relationships should be like, and what you want in a person, and you end up creating this mental checklist and then keep wondering why everyone you meet keeps falling short of them. I’ll tell you why – it’s because it’s ALL PURE FICTION. It’s fantasy – that’s what the movies, the TV shows, the books we read – that’s what they all are – they are made up and it’s so easy to get caught up in them and the ideas they perpetuate. Yes, sometimes they can be grounded in some truth, but they do not provide the full picture or encompass the complexities of the real-world in all it’s grittiness, monotony and fluctuations. They are there to remove you from the real world and provide escapism.
Someone once told me, you don’t really know what you want in a person until you meet them. Now being the more mature, although somewhat jaded, me, I could not agree with this more. The things that I thought were appealing in a person back in my younger days, has shifted quite a bit in recent times. I have discovered now that the qualities that draw me to a man, such as them giving me their undivided attention, taking a personal interest in things that I am interested in, kindness, considerateness, patience, persistence… strong morals and principles. I watched this fantastic TED Talk, on what makes people connect, and the commentator said that it was based on being open and vulnerable with someone else, that helps to form those deeper, long-lasting connections with people. And I couldn’t agree more; honesty and openness in communication is so critical, and I am finally allowing myself to apply these ‘skills’ (I suppose?), in forming new relationships with people. Honestly, people can’t read each other’s mind. I mean some people are more emotionally intelligent than others, yes, but in general people are not really that intuitive to know exactly what’s going on or what someone else is going through; and relationships are rife with miscommunication, misunderstandings and unsaid feeling. So yes, just be open, and from my experience, you will receive openness in return.
With guys and relationships blah blah blaah, I do have certain standards and things that I adhere to (always have standards ppl and don’t let them be slippin’!), because I am a woman, and yes, I like to be pursued, mentally challenged and treated with respect. It’s fun. Honestly, I want to be courted like a Victorian woman/gal (genuinely believe I was born in the wrong era). I discussed this topic with my close friend Tom over dinner recently, saying that romance in it’s sort of archaic form or the way it’s described in books/the olden days is near dead. Somehow amidst that conversation I came up with the what I call the ‘3 C’s’ – the things that win me over, and believe will win most women over.*
Confidence – don’t verge on arrogance because this can intimidate and be off putting. Don’t over flippin’ compensate either for other insecurities by being or trying to act over-confident. Real confidence shines through when you have it. When you are sure of your identity- who you are, what you stand for and what you want. It’s possibly the most attractive quality in anyone. When a person doesn’t have it, I find it’s the first thing I notice.
Challenge – I’m a thinker so I love a mental challenge. Verbal sparring is my natural state. This is why it’s so easy to get into a war of words with me very quickly and sometimes I do just play devil’s advocate for the sake of it. I love exploring different ideas and perspectives. I am super-open as a person, so it takes a lot to offend me. But if you can keep up with my mind and provide some sort of challenge, that can be really attractive. Especially if that results in being open to new ideas and reflection. No one wants to be around someone who is like a brick wall- people like people who are like sponges – adaptable, understanding, perceptive and willing to see things through a different lens. Well I certainly do at least. This to me demonstrates a willing and open mind; a keen interest to understand people and the world better. Someone who has an open mind and is challenging at the same time is a really attractive quality to me because my background isn’t run of the mill ordinary – so if you’re going out with me, I will come at you with lots of random stuff to see what you can handle. Also, I’m obsessed with psychology.
Chivalry – this is one of the things that I feel like is slightly dying out, but is really important to me. It can be difficult to figure out in the modern world, due to the shifting nature of gender roles at home and in the work place, and the expectations of men and woman now that we live in a more ‘equal’ world. But honestly, as a guy, you CANNOT GO WRONG, by being chivalrous. Unless you’re dating a lemon who can’t deal with the door being opened for her or something – she’s just got like other issues going on so IGNORE HER. But yeh, chivalry, how to explain this. Hmm. Basically, the dictionary defines it as honourable, polite and kind behaviour of a man towards a woman, but I think in the context of dating for me it’s sort of demonstrating your affection for someone in a courteous and determined or resolute manner. I just find the whole idea sooo cute and wonderful ❤ Just because sometimes I find guys make such little effort to win over a girl. Just take the lead, buy the goddamn single rose or bouquet, go at the girl’s pace, do little things to show them that you’re thinking about them – whether that’s a text first thing in the morning or last thing at night. People love being loved. Or being shown affection in some sort of sentimental way. So don’t hold back. These things make people feel good and foster closeness.
I’m Asian, so I come from a sort of gift-giving, communitarian culture, where women are sort of expected to behave in a shy/graceful manner in front of men, so I guess chivalry is a sticking point for me because it demonstrates someone making extra effort with me to get my attention. I’m not expecting a knight on a shining armour riding a unicorn or something, but I’m expecting effort and a demonstration of some willingness to be a part of my life.
Chivalry also stands out to me because I’m really sentimental (as most girls are) – so I love it when people show they’ve made effort with me, or considered me in some way. For instance, I’ve kept hold of things from eons ago, including my art from school days and diaries/journals – momentos since I was about 10 years old – or perhaps even younger – in a trunk under my bed (most things are under my bed lol). On my Pandora bracelet, I only have charms that are of significance to me (book charm, sea shell charm, graduation hat charm) as opposed to just there for looking nice or whatever. Doing sentimental things for me means more to me than anything money can buy (but also don’t forget money can buy sentimental things hahahaha). Everyone likes thoughtful gifts or gestures; it shows you’ve really made the effort to think deeply about someone, and that is sexy af. So yeh, if you’re trying to woo someone, BE SENTIMENTAL, it will work wonders for ya.
Tried this recently – doing an activity when meeting someone new is a great way to ease the pressure off, especially on a first date! It’s both fun and intense, but SO GOOD. Got the idea because I read a lot of psychology stuff and listen to podcasts in my spare time. Its a famous psychology study conducted by Arthur Aron about fostering interpersonal closeness in a lab setting through two strangers taking it in turns to ask each other 36 questions, which get increasingly more personal. The media blew it up a bit and was like “do this to fall in love” (ref: Modern Love podcast, Episode 30), but it is honestly a great first date activity, as it works best with two strangers meeting. It really helps to ease the pressure off and move away from talking about facts to talking about things around values and personal stories. So check out the links!
Social media life
Instagram stories.. I thought I should better demonstrate my digital marketing skills (anyone want to hire me freelance – feel free to contact moiii). So I’ve been giving these a go lately as I don’t have any space on my work phone for Snapchat life atm. If you’re new to it – here’s le tip: its called INSTAGRAM STORIES… IT’S MEANT TO TELL A STORY. Not be random snaps of rubbish or promotions. Make it interesting ppl please, let your personality shine throughh. Follow me bitches.
Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this post, or anything else you think you would like to see me write about?
*to avoid confusion around the issue of generalisation, I would like to state that all views and posts on my blog are based on my own personal experiences and my place in the world, the people I interact with, and how I see it through my multi-faceted identity. Thanks.
How is it half way through 2017 already!? Honestly, could this year get any more… shit? At least for me. It’s been an especially trying month, both mentally and physically, and don’t even get me started on the political scene… all words fail me here, which is saying something because words are usually my arsenal. I have 0 energy and motivation for anything right now; being ill is no fun. It’s been an emotional up and down, turbulent, firework of back and forth fatigue and a host of other issues for me since January, but I am powering through (or I am trying to do so anyway). I won’t delve deeper into my current condition/s or situation regarding my health, as I’m not really ready to disclose it, but I hope sometime in the future perhaps, when I have overcome this particularly difficult period in my life, I will be able to openly address it, whether because it helps me to come to terms with it or because it will help someone else who may be suffering through it to know that they are not alone in their struggle, or struggles.
I am determined to continue with blogging, if only this update a month. So what has June offered me?
DVSN – SEPTEMBER 5TH
This is an album I have pretty much been listening to continuously since coming across it last year. Honestly Daneil Daley’s voice is like ***. I like the album a lot because I feel that the lyrics are really honest and personal, explicitly and refreshingly so. I’ve had the album on loop since July 2016, and wanted to see them in concert so much that I forked out a wad of monies to buy tickets to Drake’s Boy Meets World tour back in March (it was also a late bday pressie for my younger sister). DVSN were his warm up act (they’re signed to his label). Every song on the album, from the production, lyrics, voice etc. is 10/10 for me, ‘With Me’ being my favourite on the album, and ‘Hallucinations’ a close second. The album is a must listen and has inspired my art and writing over the past months; in the sense that there’s nothing wrong with explicitly stating what you want or feel. They’ve released some new singles in the past few months, but in a different style to the songs on the album; frankly not sure how I feel about the new releases, but plan on giving the two new singles a few more listens.
ALICIA KEYS – THE ELEMENT OF FREEDOM
This is one of my favourite albums by Alicia Keys, and probably the only one I’ve listened to end to end. I listened to it a lot when it first came out way back when in 2009 or 2010 during uni. Keys has an incredible voice and combined with mellow instrumentals of most of her songs, makes it great to listen to whilst working 😀 Fave song is ‘Unthinkable’ and I’ve been listening to various takes on this song by other artists too this month.
My sister has been harping on about her for ages so I’ve been listening to some of her stuff on Youtube. I do enjoy a few of her songs and her videos are very visual and aesthetically appealing to the eye. She’s got a really light quality to her voice and music so it’s really nice to listen to in the background when writing or doing a nonchalant activity.
BRYSON TILLER – TRUE TO SELF
Really liked his first album TRAPSOUL. Again, I like it when I feel that songs aren’t shallow, and singers are singing ‘true’ songs/ from personal experience (whether this is the case or not doesn’t matter to me much, as long as it is compelling enough that it feels like it is so is good enough for me 🙂 ), and that’s what Tiller’s music feels like to me. Like all his lyrics are stories you know? Enjoying his new album thus far but it’s no where near as good as his first.
MARIO – COSMO 17
Back on the scene and underrated. Love the mellowness as always. His songs aren’t super-amazing or anything, I just like listening to them. I guess I’ve just been a fan of his since the 90s. So it’s been a pretty solid mellow R&B month for me it seems..
ED SHEERAN – DIVIDE
Being a huge fan, I naturally listened to the whole album when it first came out but I just wasn’t feeling it at the time – AT ALL. It’s a bit of a disappointment after MULTIPLY, where every song was like wow wow wow, and you could listen to it over and over again. Nonetheless, this month I have been listening to ‘Dive’ and ‘Perfect’ – two songs which would classically fit onto his previous album. It is songs like these that I guess I associate Ed Sheeran the most with, and think he is best at producing – whatever that means. YES IT’S BEEN A DEPRESSO MONTH FOR ME PPLZ. I’ve really wanted to see him in concert for agesss, unfortunately NONE OF MY FRIENDS care for his music it seems… time to get new friends?
MISSING, PRESUMED BY SUSIE STEINER
Took me a while to finish this; started off quite good but then felt like it padded out and the pace waned massively. Also the end was a massive anti-climax and frankly just shit. I liked the main character and her woes and this was one of the main reasons I kept on till the end, but I wouldn’t really recommend. It’s an easy read and all but once you finish it you don’t feel like you got much out of it really and just feel like EHH???
When I discover a blog I like I tend to read pretty much everything on it, so have been reading this end to end this month. It’s really good, and I love the illustrations Adam or Aadam (as he likes to be known) draws – the guy really knows his stuff when it comes to health and fitness and I’ve definitely found his content very useful. I follow his blog, Facebook and Instagram and he’s got a very strong personality which comes across in his posts and just makes it very entertaining and enjoyable to read. Although he can sometimes go a bit overboard, it’s his style and he owns it so you kinda have to respect it. You can check out his blog here. Would highly recommend if you’re into health and fitness or trying to get into it.
THE FIRE IN FICTION BY DONALD MAASS
Absolutely excellent book if you want to improve your writing and really make a move on developing your story or novel. I stumbled across this book recommendation when I was browsing Youtube for writing tips. Best recommendation that I’ve come across so far. It has super helpful tips and practice tasks/prompts at the end of each chapter, that if you actually have a go at, really helps develop your writing skills. Ever since using the tips I have really felt like I’ve uncovered a new and better layer to my work. Would highly recommend.
THE GUARDIAN / NEWSPAPERS GALORE
Election innittt. I’ve been reading ALL DEM NEWSPAPERS. Reading all the columns and wotnot – late into the nights too as during Ramadan there’s no point in sleeping when you have such a short window to eat between Iftar and Sehri. I must say, there’s so much shit churned out as of late I don’t know what’s real and what’s not anymore. I love The Guardian btw – I’m just sprouting hate at all the other competitors yehh.
THEORY TEST FOR CAR DRIVERS
YEH. I ACTUALLY REVISED THIS. BITCHES. AND I FINALLY PASSED!!
WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR BY PAUL KALANITHI
Simply outstanding read. This is the personal and riveting experience of a neurosurgeon in his internal quest to find the meaning of life in the face of death, when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is phenomenally hard to put down, not only because of the story but because of how beautifully it is written. I’ve rarely read a novel with such a strong and compelling narration – you can literally hear his voice in your head. If there is one book you read this year, or ever, make this your priority.
The month of Ramadan and Eid, which marks the end of it. Honestly, the end of Ramadan couldn’t have come soon enough for me. I took off two weeks sick from work during it and as much as I love it I really struggle with it every year. I have little routine, become lethargic and seem to put on a hideous number of pounds. It was very enjoyable spending the time with my family but my internal struggle meant that I was a bit moody and on edge and ended up eating copious amounts of food in the evening to sedate myself for whatever reason. I did try and go to the gym at midnight though.. not sure it made much difference. Eid again was really lovely, although it doesn’t hold the same excitement for me that it did when I was younger; everyone came over to our house this year because my mother is the best host 😀
No matter how much I try to remove myself from politics, I am always drawn back to it. It’s been painful to watch the events and interview post Grenfell tower, but most nights I have been up till 6am as Sehri ends at like 3am and after the amount of food and sugar and coffee I have ingested during Iftar it is hard to sleep. I stayed up all night to watch the election night results come in with my sister, which for the first time in history, was actually exciting to watch.
ASK LAFTAN ANLAMAZ (TURKISH TV SERIES)
I’m not much of a TV gal but omg I am obsessed with this show! I have also got my younger sisters into it. And it also turns out that my older sister saw it being shared across Facebook and started watching it too! I’ve never watched a Turkish TV drama before, but for some reason this has got me hooked! I stumbled on a clip whilst browsing the explore/discover section on Instagram and then googled it further because the clip I watched on Instagram was hella cute.
It’s cheesy and rom-com like, which has never been my thing but I’ve always enjoyed them on a peripheral level in an escapist kind of way. It’s taken me by surprise how much I’m enjoying it, and I think it’s really because I find it so easy to relate to – the show focuses on modern Muslims living life and facing all the challenges I face – which isn’t something my non-Muslim Western counterparts necessarily face and can seem alien outside looking in. It’s also not something any Western shows address. Bend it Like Beckham and Desi Rascals may have been the closest thing to it, but even they are very far removed and were very anglicised. Being a Muslim places certain restrictions or societal pressures in regards to lifestyle etc., and these are all present in the relationships and activities of daily life that the characters encounter, and that I have to navigate daily- which most people around me are completely oblivious to or unaware of. So I think this is why the series is so easy for me to be absorbed in- because the challenges and relationships in the show are similar to my internal and external challenges. It also certainly helps that the main guy and girl in the show are really hot. All the characters also have very strong/distinct personalities. You guys know how much I hate stereotypes and flat/one-dimensional characters! The episodes are each 2.5 hours long, so at first I was like wthhh, I’m never going to get through watching this with my attention span, but now I’m like YEYYYY more for me to enjoy as there are only 32 episodes in total I think. So yah. Loving it. Was watching it most of the time whilst I was in Budapest loool.
All the episodes are available online with Eng subs – give it a watch if you have time to spare… you can find out more about the show here.
I finally downloaded Scrivener, which is a writing application/programme that a friend and published author, Catherine Banner, recommended to me a while back, and omg, I wish I had downloaded it sooner! It’s fab for working on a novel. So with this, I have made some significant progress on my first novel, * drum roll please * THE DOCTOR’S WIFE (first reveal of the title people!). I am slowly fleshing it out and the story is coming together into something I feel I can be proud of. YAY.
First trip of the year and traditional annual trip with one of my best friends, Tom. I was kinda unwell during it, so we took it easy, and didn’t see everything back to back within a few days like we normally do. It was more of a lazy/chill type holiday, which was exactly what I needed. We certainly saw a lot however, although we never got to try the famous baths! We left it too late and by the time we got there they were closed. Unfortunately food was not the highlight of this trip, as I was hoping it would be in a similar way that Rome was (Rome is soooo amazing btw – one of my all time favourite trips! Still dream about the amazing food in that city * drool *). It could be that we just made poor choices (Tom got food poisoning on the last day…), but for me I wasn’t blown away by the options on offer, although its restaurant scene was surprisingly multi-cultural. The city is absolutely beautiful, as is the weather, and I have a feeling I will return in the future. For what reason, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling I will. There’s something very alluring about the place.
All kinds of stuff. Mostly unhealthy -_-. Tried some new stuff, which didn’t always go down too well… also thinking of becoming vegan apart from chicken and eggs, heh heh. Doing my best ppl. I won’t go into the cheese meltdown I had in Budapest after having lunch at a place where everything was pretty much made out of cheese, but hey-ho, I managed to survive- just about!
Finally/sorta finished this. Inspired by events in March.
With my nephews on weekly coffee dates for a catchup ❤ Fully indulging in the pleasures of being an aunty ❤
Not to find life depressing AF 😀
So… lots went on in June! What has inspired you this month? I would love to know. Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch. Especially music album recommendations… I feel like I’ve been listening to the same stuff for eons.
I’m afraid to say that May has been a relatively miserable month for me – I’m still unwell and it’s hard for me to describe exactly in words what or how I feel, or maybe I’m just not ready to put it into words yet, and I’m not sure I ever will be, unless it’s through my fiction work – but a lot has changed for me since the start of January. It’s sometimes difficult to understand or imagine the me that I was, this time last year, happy and wondering around Cambridge with my sister, graduating with my MA and my friends and smiles all around me. I am so very much far away from her, the me last year, in both mind, body and spirit. Being unwell in the sense of constantly experiencing shallow highs and what feels like earth-shattering lows in a perpetual cycle of self-doubt and to a great degree, self-inflicted gloom and misery as a result of negative thought-processes, has resulted in nothing but total and utter fatigue. It’s been tough, and something that I am struggling to cope with, and never have I sought escape from my situation in any shape or form so ardently. Here’s to me hoping that the spiritual month of Ramadan, taking some time off work, continuing with my writing and making every effort to reconnect with the things that are important to me, helps to develop a healthy mindset and set me on a better track in the coming months.
May has been one of those reflective months for me, so I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff – from things that are eons old to a lot of new stuff on Spotify playlists – but overall mostly with low-mood, mellow or melancholy and alternative vibes.
JIMMY EAT WORLD – BLEED AMERICAN
You know you’ve got issues when you’re listening to ‘Hear You Me’ on repeat from morning till night. Also realised they performed at the O2 Guildhall in Southampton a few months ago?! Very sad to have missed it.
Pretty much all of his stuff on Spotify. His voice has a very soothing effect I find.
SONDER – INTO (EP)
Alternative mellow R&B/soul/techno-ish. Just been listening to it during work as it’s quite chill and doesn’t interfere too much with my thought processes. It’s nice.
She’s a Singaporean singer-songwriter who I stumbled upon which I like – she’s different and I like her depressing-mellow songs with techno-type voice.
I’ve been reading a lot this month – from books to online blogs and news articles. The majority has been stuff on politics (quite naturally with the election on the 8 June looming ahead). My Facebook feed has been covered with articles from all sorts of places – not sure if it’s been depressing me or not, but it’s been interesting to see all the fake news, newspapers shifting alliances and advertising propaganda sprouted by the Tories.
ASKING FOR IT BY LOUISE O’NEILL
This book is about rape culture. I read O’Neill’s debut last year, ONLY EVER YOURS, after a recommendation from a friend and I really enjoyed it, so was very much looking forward to getting stuck into this, her second novel. It’s about a girl who gets gang raped at a friend’s party. The whole event is also documented on social media by her four assailants. The book charts the aftermath of the event and the impact it has on her, her family, and unsurprisingly, the lack of consequence and impact on her rapists. The book highlights modern culture around technology, and is actually based on true events that occurred in America.
It struck a cord with me because it reminded me of why so few women come forward in instances of rape – the conviction rate is abysmally low – a joke really – even when the evidence is blindingly clear. I was on the jury for the attempted rape and sexual assault of a 100 year old woman last year – yes I know, the stuff that makes your guts curl and want to vom repeatedly – and what happened? The guy got away with attempted fucking burglary. The evidence seemed so clear and obvious I thought it was a no-brainer. I’ve never felt so angry and utterly hopeless at the same time in my life. Especially since I thought half the people on the jury were total dimwits and completely untrained/not fit to make decisions on matters of law that they couldn’t seem to digest or understand. I know I must sound like an elitist pig, but you cannot expect to put a random bunch of people in a room with zero-minimal prior knowledge of the law, or how it is written, to make such a life altering decision. They need to be trained or have a minimal level of comprehension to understand what accounts for evidence and what does not. I can go on with this rant but I won’t because it makes me angry and it’s currently 3.15am and I need to go to sleep because I have work tomorrow. I didn’t follow up on the case after my time on the jury finished because I just wanted to be rid of the whole experience; it was so horrible. But perhaps I should follow up, because my anger with the injustice that occurred is obviously still there, just beneath the surface.
I’ve also been reading MISSING, PRESUMED BY SUSIE STEINER, WANNABE A WRITER? (yes, yes I do) BY JANE WENHAM-JONES, EAT PRAY LOVE BY ELIZABETH GILBERT, and THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE BY STEPHEN R. COVEY.
I haven’t actually finished getting through all of these this month – I tend to have lots of books on the go – both fiction and non-fiction I am finding lately – and easily navigate through them depending on my mood. But yes, I am certainly enjoying finally getting through my large book collection!
LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER
I watched this earlier this month; it’s the BBC production starring Richard Madden. I have like a huge celebe crush on Madden ❤ (ROB STARRK OMG) so will pretty much watch anything he’s in, good or bad. I certainly enjoyed watching this, even though his role was primarily a bit of ze rough on ze side heh heh. Defo worth the £2.49 I paid on Amazon Prime for it.
I have a beautiful copy of the book sitting on my shelf so look forward to reading it when I have a go at working through all the classics I haven’t read. My friend did a challenge a few years back where he worked through the classics in a year (sometimes he watched the movies instead of reading the books so kind of cheating there ahem), but you get the gist. I was thinking of setting a similar challenge for myself (but I would read all the books)! Might save it for 2018 though…
This is an independent movie that my sister recommended to me, inspired by the 1779 painting of mixed-race Dido Elizabeth Belle beside her white cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray, at Kenwood House. The film is about Dido coming to terms with her identity and status in the context of an elite white family at a time when the slave trade existed. The movie charts her involvement with a lawyer, who is seeking justice on a case that came to be known as the Zong massacre, when slaves were thrown overboard from a slave ship and the owner filed with his insurance company for the losses (what a douchebag). I personally think this film had a strong storyline, but because it was an independent movie and budget was obvs tight, it didn’t do it justice really. Also wasn’t sure about the main gal’s acting. I personally didn’t find it convincing enough, and found Lady Elizabeth Murray’s character far too one-dimensional. One dimensional characters drive me NUTS. I simply expect better, I just do. I can’t help it. If I have taken my precious time to watch something, I WANT SOMETHING GOOD TO FEED MY SOUL/BRAIN GODDAMMIT.
I went to both the Mayflower Theatre to watch the very classic JANE EYREand the Nuffield Theatre (for the first time) to watch THE WOMAN IN BLACK. All I can say is that JANE EYREwas beyond MEH (struggled not to fall asleep – not my fault frankly had a very large and delicious meal with insanely lush dessert beforehand which meant that I had bloated up to the size of a whale in what is increasingly becoming my extra small dress), so sat in my seat most of the evening trying not to burst at the seams or burp. I found the actress who played Jane excruciatingly annoying, and Rochester looked like he was a homeless man that they’d dragged off the streets and forced to play the role against his will. Me was disappointed.
On the other hand, THE WOMAN IN BLACK was SOOO FANTASTIC YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!! I actually yelped out loud during the play (coz it’s scary and jumpy in all the right parts), grabbed onto Tom’s arm and DID NOT FALL ASLEEP. Which for me, if you aren’t aware of my limited attention span, is a firstttt (this is why I don’t do movie dates loool). Honestly, I was completely riveted, and the show has pretty much been sold out every night – not surprised at all! I think I enjoyed it so much because I didn’t know anything about the story or plot – I decided to go on a whim because a colleague at work had seen it the night before and was raving about it in the office kitchen so I just went off and bought the tickets. It’s the famous production that has been touring London I think – well the posters at the Nuffield were the same as the ones that I’d seen in London anyhow. I find theatre a real hit and miss, so it was really great to feel like it was more than my money’s worth, and just really made me feel great. You know when you see something really good, and you feel good and keep talking about it afterwards? That’s exactly how I felt, and from all the faces of the people who left the theatre I could tell they felt the same way – they were all buzzing about it – so yes would HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you ever have the opportunity to see it in the flesh.
PASTRY AND CARRBBBSSS
Far far far too much. Like every night. Kill me now. PAIN AU RAISIN IS MY BABY RIGHT NOW. I swear I’ve been sleepwalking into Waitrose and buying these daily. I seem to have forgotten about my love of anything with raisins in it – I absolutely loved eating raisins in any manner and form growing up and this craving of mine has totally returned in the past couple of weeks and I have been eating it at every opportunity.
I’ve also been eating any form of carb that my eyes have laid sight on. YAY. FOOD AND MY FEELINGS INNIT.
SKINNY BAKERY GOODIES
I’ve seen these Skinny Bakery goodies all over Instagram so thought I would try them and ended up buying one of everything from the website (where else is ma monies gonna go aye?) and lemme tell ya – they are SO good. They are basically cakes and cookies but made from uber healthy ingredients, so end up being a slither of the cals of normal sugary cakes/cookies. I enjoyed them immensely and plan to order some more in the near future when I am free of ze dietlife ❤
Ramadan has started! By holy food I just mean food that we eat during Ramadan lol. This, for a Bengali household, is what I refer to as Asian porridge, pan fried chickpeas with all the spices on the Asian continent and a large side of fresh cucumber, tomato and onion salad. Oh and delicious thick dates from Jordan. I was planning to go uber healthy this year and stick to fruit and yoghurt as dessert, because last year I gained like a stone over Ramadan, although I did go to Singapore and eat bread and ice-cream non-stop so that may have had something to do with it hmm… Anyhow, my attempt at being healthy failed like on the first day when I ate so much at Iftar I passed out – I’m not even joking I passed out on my bed and swore I would never eat again. Well here I am post my sixth Iftar drinking coffee and eating a white chocolate Magnum so * shrugs shoulders *
In a way this is a follow up to Meet Me in March, but many years on. Tell me if you see the link? I would love to hear your thoughts on them, as these two poems are very close to my heart.
The truth is, I only draw when I am unhappy or profoundly sad. I mean, who draws when they’re flippin’ happy? No one says ‘woop I am feeling super great today! I’m gloriously happy so I am gonna spend my time drawing in my bed! Or trek to a coffee shop to see what form my happy feelings take today!’ No, that doesn’t happen – not that I know of anyway.
Drawing for me is a process of escape (not necessarily a stress-free one however as I still want the outcome to be good, if not better than good), and an extension and expression of my thoughts. So as you can imagine, I have been drawing a lot lately, as this month has been a particularly difficult one for me for various reasons. Although I haven’t managed to finish anything I’ve been working on – I’ve been jumping from one thing to another, just like my reading. I also rarely ever share full images of my work online either – preferring to share bits of a painting, or a corner of something I’ve drawn. My art is private, but I’m trying to be less cagey and more comfortable about it, just like my writing I guess.
LATE NIGHT GYM SESSIONS
I have been trying to go to the gym after Iftar to keep the weight in check with my two sisters. I am certainly a fan of going to the gym late at nights – it’s empty, quiet and just soo much more relaxing than trying to navigate the rush of people during the day. Not so great however, is the fact that we have to go to Puregym as it’s the only 24-hour gym local to us. The equipment is ancient, and the music is loud and shite. It’s so loud I can’t even hear the music on my iPod with airtight headphones on! So far I feel that getting in some movement in my day has helped somewhat, as it’s soo easy to be sedentry when fasting. I’m hoping to keep up the regime over Ramadan and potentially beyond, as we all bought a 3-month pass (we were a bit over-enthusiastic at the start of Ramadan…).
WRITING 100 WORDS A DAY
Starting off small, but decided that this was the only way I am ever going to make a dent towards completing my novel, and all the other books and number of things I plan to write. I need to prioritise this. If I set myself this, then slowly it will build to something. I read that that’s what this one author did (can’t remember his name) who’d written a ton of novels. Just kept ploughing with writing 100 words a day, if not more. I want to be a novelist and poet, and write my shitty heart out, so if it’s important to me I gotta make the time to do it. I want to get to November this year and fully participate in NaNoWriMo and have something meaty to work with, so that’s the aim!