September – and the end of it – marks the beginning of my favourite season – autumn. It’s especially beautiful in Southampton and I love the crispness of it all – in the air, under my feet as I walk, on my skin as I wrap my scarf tightly around my face and neck. This period is always a reflective time for me before the new year starts, and I spent quite a lot of time this month thinking about my future and my goals, doing my best everyday to choose me and be good to myself. So here we are – these are the things that inspired and kept me going this month.

Reading…

Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari

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This is legit the most hilarious book I have read in a long while. Aziz Ansari – a comedian (although I have never seen any of his content before reading this book) – charts the frustrations of dating in the 21st century in what is possibly the most easy-to-read, laugh-out-loud book that I have come across in this genre. It’s supported by a lot of research, including primary studies, and really depicts the landscape of modern romance and why we millennials struggle SO HARD in the dating world. Technology, especially mobile phones and social media, have changed the game so much that we are encountering challenges that our predecessors, even only 10 years ago, couldn’t have dreamed up of. I would defo recommend giving this a read! 5/5 people – and that’s a rare rating for me!! I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, and absolutely loving it.

Watching…

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace Theatre, London)

Paid an arm, leg and the soul of my unborn child for these tickets, but it was SO WORTH IT OMG. It was a gift for my sister’s birthday – bless her she was so excited – we’re both super fans but keep our fandom low key. We were ill AF on the day, and I cried in-between the two parts coz we ate McDonalds and it tasted like shite – but hey hoo – life is all about learning dem lessons.

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The Little Mermaid Ballet (The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton)

If you follow me then you’ll know that this is my favourite story of all time, ALL TIME people. It was absolutely beautiful – my first ballet and honestly, ballet dancers are soo talented. No words, just dance and some vocals. This followed the original Hans Christian Anderson storyline and not the Disney version – so yes, it had the sad ending.

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Here’s a link to a post I wrote earlier this year on The Little Mermaid and how much it means to me:

Visiting…

Brighton

Day trippin and it’s such a nice city! It’s ridiculous that I haven’t visited before, considering it’s so close to me and super cheap to get to from Southampton on the train. It was a bit up and down with the weather (no surprises there ayyy) but it held out for most of the day for me and Tom. Think it’s worth mentioning here that we went to this great little independent food place for lunch called Brighton Burger. Burgers appear to be my latest obsessions/addiction, and I can say from my deep level and range of experience of eating burgers that it is one of the best burger places that I have been to, so would highly recommend it if you visit Brighton anytime soon. TripAdvisor and Tom would also concur with this view as well, just sayin.

Here’s a pic if you don’t believe me. Again 5/5.

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Here’s also a pic of the sunset. Only half-decent pic I managed to get. Most of them were of me trying to get selfies with Tom were we pretended to be happy ppl.

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Dublin

Weekend trip with one of my favourite persons ever – Becky. We met on the way to China when we were going on a Cambridge trip abroad to teach, and have literally been besties since. This was our first hol tog since then (I met her at the airport and we looked over at each other and were like SNAP LET US BE FRIENDS IMMEDIATELY COZ WE DON’T NO NOBODY ELSE). And we’ve been pals ever since. I enjoyed Dublin a lot – although not gonna lie – it has a strange feel over it – like 1960s post- communist Russia- post- fall of Berlin wall kinda vibe. We did traipse about the most on the Sunday though so the ‘dead’ vibe could be because everyone was at church or wotnot. The city certainly came alive on the Monday. If you do plan a visit, the city can be surprisingly expensive for what’s on offer and I would advise booking things early, or doing your research beforehand coz costs can add up quickly. We did not plan this trip at all and pretty much winged most of it and got super lucky with tours and things – again surprisingly – everything is pretty much booked up or gets booked up very fast.

We managed to do lots of stuff in a short amount of time however – so overall a really successful and enjoyable city break – chilled and full of sights – inc. Dublin Castle, that famous jail place, Trinity College and the library where they keep the Book of Kells or whatever (honestly not that exciting so if you ever plan to go don’t bother/waste yo money), Temple Bar (where we got to listen to Irish music and watch this old woman swing about with all the young Irish men at the bar – was absolutely brilliant), The Little Museum of Dublin (best half hour tour talk thing of the trip) – would defo recommend. We got the 3 day pass (33 euro) which inc. all transport and free entry to The Little Museum of Dublin (saving of 10 euro) and a walking tour (another saving of 10 euro) and quite a number of other perks!

We also did a little experiment thing about seeing a city through colour – it’s about looking at places through a different lense. You pick a colour – we chose yellow (thought green was a little too obvious and because we thought yellow was a happy colour), and so as you explore the city you look out for things of that colour. You soon start to notice little things about a place that you might not have noticed otherwise! It was quirky and fun although we did spend far too much time at traffic lights trying to take a pic of the amber little person because it was yellow lol.

Celebrating…

Love & stuff

So many weddings this year! I’ve tried to make use of stuff in my wardrobe and play around with different makeup looks since I now have the time to be interested in matters of vanity as I am no longer a student with no life. Celebrated my friend Becca’s wedding and one of my best friend’s brother’s wedding this month. It was lovely to be present in these ceremonies and catch up with everyone. Been to so many that another friend of mine text me this: ‘ALL THESE WEDDINGS WHEN’S YOURS BAE??’ I was like -__- fuuuu. / luv uuu.

Just when I thought I’d been to my last wedding this year- just been invited to another one! So yah – more free food and un-eligible men. Woo.

Eid (Islamic New Year)

ALONE ALL BY MYSELF. This appears to be a more and more common occurrence as I age into death. The Quadir family are a strange bunch – we have no extended family but our immediate family is huge so I guess I never felt like I was missing out on much with the lack of cousins and wotnot. But now that we’re all grown up and going our separate ways I’m like – WHY AM I A LONELY POTATO EVERY EID. My Mother was in Saudi completing the Hajj pilgrimage with Sister No. 2 and her husband, so my younger siblings (Sisters 6 and 7) were in London to help look after the children of Sister no. 2, so this is why I was by myself. Cheers.

Listening to…

Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions by Russell Brand

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This is absolutely brilliant. I’ve been listening to it with my free trial of Audible on Amazon. In today’s society, addiction is rife and we’re all battling with something – whether that’s overeating, drinking, social media addiction or whatever – we’re suffering in a world with an economic system and environment that feeds off our addictions, and in many ways, creates them and depletes our ability to feel that we can be independent or be rid of them. I’m only half way through it but would definitely recommend it if your looking to overcome an addiction or self-sabotaging habits/practices you may be struggling with.

I’m still listening to Modern Love podcasts and been having a blaze through 90s music this month. I really need some good stuff to listen to in the gym. Discover Spotify has been good but seeking some decent recommendations for gymlife please!

Writing…

Just these two this month – a creative piece and a review type piece:

Drawing…

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You – A Summary.

Focusing on…

MY GOALS

I’ve always been quite a driven and ambitious person. But this year has been probably one of the toughest of my life, and because of that, I have lost sight of the things I wanted and worked so hard to build a foundation for. I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day, and he reminded me that the people you surround yourself with can really impact you massively. I mean I’ve always known this, but again, lost sight of it because I’ve been out of it for so much of this year. When I used to hang out with driven and competitive people, I was always pushing myself, developing myself, striving to be better and the best version of myself. But the thing about working in the public sector is, as much as I love it, it’s easy to become complacent and just ‘roll along’ with life. I love working in education and in a University, it’s my natural habitat and I love the environment and friendly people, but public sector is sloooow and can be un-inspiring when there are people working there before you were even born (no offence if you read my blog lol). Innovation does not come about or progress at the same pace that it would in the private sector.

Anyway, my point is, I’ve just become a bit lax. Recently, I have been in contact with people with lots of positive energy, drive and spirit, and most attractively, ambition. This made me shift my focus back to my goals – yes, I do want a place of my own and write that novel that has been churning in the back of my mind for years; yes, I do want to find the love of my life and yes, I do want to have that fat baby boy promised in my destiny, but most importantly, I want to get my health, both mental and physical, back in the right place. But I can’t expect it to just land in my lap- I have to actively strive towards making these goals happen, as I have done with everything previously up until this point in my life. It sometimes just feels SO HARD though, but I am trying to take it day by day. I still have days were I relapse and just want to go to bed and cry my eyes out, but now I just do that and then try and do other stuff too. My current focus is on buying my own place; I dismissed this goal earlier this year as I just didn’t think it was feasible for me or that I didn’t want the responsibility, and at the time the future ahead of me seemed so dark and obscure – but now I’m like HELLO I CAN TOTALLY GET MY OWN PLACE – WHY WOULD I EVER THINK I COULDN’T?

DAILY RITUALS

I’ve been trying to change my habits by building daily rituals that work towards my long-term goal of having a healthy and active lifestyle – and going to the gym is one of them. I joined easyGym recently and it’s one of the best I’ve been to so far. I honestly didn’t realise how addictive the gym can be and always thought people who enjoyed going to the gym were nuts. Well heyy ho – my tune has changed. If you go to a good gym that’s well kitted out with a good vibe it can be a huge motivator. I actually look forward to heading to the gym after a long day at work! Cray I know. Ok yeh so easgyGym has a few lemons in it but on the whole, everyone’s been super friendly and lots of guys have been helpful with the equipment since I always look a bit lost and confused in the ‘manly’ weights area.

I also think it’s important to find a gym routine or programme that you like and stick to it- that’s made a huge difference for me. I prefer lifting weights/resistance training to cardio. I’m doing the Venus workout programme at the moment, which has a lot of resistance exercises and I can honestly say that I have never been so consistent at the gym. I am really loving it and its become a sort of therapy; my ‘me time’. I gained some weight after losing it last year and it’s sort of knocked my confidence a little bit so I’m working on it!!! I can already see both the physical and mental benefits. #potatogetsfit. First stage of recovery.

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