Monthly Musings | September 2017

Monthly Musings | September 2017

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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My Favourite Podcast + 7 Episodes You Need to Listen to ASAP

A while back you may remember that I was seeking out some good podcasts to listen to, but after trying a few here and there, I just couldn’t find one that hooked me. Low and behold, sleepless nights and browsing psychology articles online, I stumbled upon the fantabulous Modern Love podcast series. Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story amirrighhhttt? Especially the ones that end in heartbreak and leave you hating life. WHAT’S EVEN BETTER? THE ONES BASED ON REAL LIFE!! REAL LIFE PPL!! Not made up hooplaaas that Hollywood chucks at us.

My own modern love story coincided with me listening to these podcasts oddly enough- so there must be something to it eh. The podcast covers stories sent in by people and are based on lessons learned in love, loss and redemption. It’s seriously moving stuff and I became an instant fan, taking the time out to listen to it wherever possible, be it during solo food fests, on an airplane, gymming or my daily bus grind.

Here are my top 7 that I would highly recommend to get you started, and that you need to listen to ASAP if you know what’s good for you:

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1. ‘To Fall In Love, Do This’ | Episode 30

This is the first one I listened to, late at night a couple of months ago when I was having trouble sleeping. I tried it out on a first date too, and it’s a great way to park any initial nerves to the side and get to know someone on a deeper level. It’s also fun to do, and a bit of like a game. It’s based on Arthur Aron’s famous study about creating inter-personal closeness between two strangers in a lab setting, or as the media promoted it, ’36 questions to make anyone fall in love’ or ‘creating love in the lab’. I’m a huge fan of social psychology so this was right up my street.

2. ‘A Millennial’s Guide to Kissing’ | Episode 10

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I listened to this on my way to Edinburgh, and it’s a must listen, especially if you’re a millennial. The story is about how love in today’s fleeting world of instant gratification is like a short ride on a plane… I loved this one – think I will give it another listen!

3. ‘The End of Small Talk’ | Episode 59

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This is another brilliant one and talks about moving beyond small talk when it comes to dating or meeting people and getting to the real questions we want to ask someone.

4. ‘Kept Together By The Bars Between Us’ | Episode 35

This is the most strangely romantic and incredibly gripping story that I’ve ever come across, and I certainly would not have come across it had I not stumbled across this podcast. I was listening to it whilst walking uphill on the treadmill at the gym and was gasping and making all sorts of dramatic faces as the story went on. It’s a story about a woman who falls in love with a convicted murderer… and my god it is incredible.

5. ‘Flowergate’ | Episode 76

This is a story about a flower delivery gone wrong, very very wrong. And it’s so tragic because it is such an easy mistake to make. This really had me teary on the train back home from Edinburgh. And I rarely cry #coldasice here ppl.

6. ‘Just friends? Let me read between the lines’ | Episode 28

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This is absolutely brilliant, told with so much humour for what is a heart-rendering story. I was laughing out loud at so many points but it cut me deep at the same time too. Again, something everyone can relate to: dating someone, falling head over heels for them, and then it not working out. How to get over them? Well don’t do these things…

7. ‘Friends without benefits’ | Episode 19

This is a story of friendship and love never reciprocated. It’s told so well and it’s so moving, I can’t imagine anyone who would not be able to relate to it. Unrequited love is the hardest, but what’s even harder is when it eventually happens, but doesn’t live up to your expectations. I listened to this whilst I was drawing and really had to take a moment and just fully focus on listening to it, because it really makes you stop and appreciate the intensity of the emotion that comes with falling in love with someone and pining for them for years.

I’ve learnt so much from these podcasts and because they are stories submitted by real people and of real experiences, there’s something in all of them that’s not only easy to relate to, but of value – something you can really take away and apply or consider in your own life. There’s more commonality to human experience then we may immediately realise, and these podcasts really show that you are not alone in what you may be feeling or going through.

Let me know if you start listening to them – I would love to know what you think and which your favourites are!

Monthly Musings, Entry 05 | August 2017

Another interesting month of lots of turning points… but here are the main ‘cultural’ highlights, as opposed to me contemplating upon the woes of existence (lol).

Also a huge thank you to everyone who reached out to me this month, just for a chat or to see how I was doing or to just let me know that they were thinking of me – it always takes me by surprise and makes me feel so grateful to know that I have so many wonderful people in my life ❀

Listening to…

Bopping to loads of stuff at the moment:

  • The WeekndStarboy – such a good album! Late on the scene.
  • Rihanna – her Anti album – again, late on the scene I know.
  • Paris & Simo – been listening to ‘Keep Me Close’ – good track for the gym.
  • Yo Trane – his album Late Night Drive – easy R&B listening I would say.
  • Bruno Mars24k Magic album – this is obvs good.
  • Ariana Grande – all albums on shuffle during a girls’ weekend in the Cotswolds (more below).
  • Tove Lo – ‘Habits (Stay High)’ – such a good song for when you feel like shite!
  • Tone Stith – still listening to his stuff.
  • Tori KellyUnbreakable Smile album – for dem melancholy days.
  • Jessie WareTough Love album – melancholy days +++.

Currently awaiting DVSN‘s new album Morning After to drop. Their marketing is such a tease omg! They always release little trailers of their stuff excruciatingly slowly. I have also been continuing to listen to the Modern Love podcasts that I mentioned in my musings post last month. I will also be checking out some of these podcasts soon. Arianna Huffington shared them on her Facebook page, and I really like a lot of the stuff on her Thrive website so thought it would be interesting to give a few of these a listen.

Reading…

I haven’t had time to do much reading this month beyond the Lonely Planet Edinburgh Pocket Guide on my Kindle lol. However, I was gifted two very special books by people – one, a beautiful notebook-style of Tyler Knott Gregson’s poetry by an old university friend – if you haven’t heard of him you MUST go and check out his Instagram RIGHT NOW. He shares a lot of his stuff on there, but the best stuff is his Typewriter Series, so look through and read those ❀ .

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The other was an old, beautifully bound Victorian book of Robert Browning’s poetry, gifted to me by someone who entered my life for a brief period of time. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but plan on making some time to do so soon. If you know me, you know how much I treasure gifts, especially thoughtful ones like these. So thank you both – you know who you are – these put more than a real smile on my face, which is especially significant in what was another weird up and down month for me.

Visiting…

Edinburgh

Literally had the most amazing time on my first ever solo trip! I fell in love with the place on pretty much the first day. I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at my friend’s flat (she literally lives 2 mins from the Royal Mile), which made it super easy for me to explore the city. The trip was super chilled and I loved my routine of of getting up early, going to a nice cafe, planning my day with a cup of coffee (americano with hot skimmed milk is my go to if you were wondering), exploring and eating (woo!), and then meeting up with my friend for dinner after she got back from work. Old uni friend also made the effort to visit me on the second day, and we had a great time traipsing about the quaint cobbled streets of Edinburgh, sitting inside the window of a lovely cafe and exploring one of the most beautiful second-hand (Victorian!) bookshops.

 

I managed to squeeze a lot in in a few days, with the help of the super helpful guidebook. I did all the standard stuff: Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Palace (although I didn’t get to climb up Arthur’s Seat because it started raining like mad but saw it from afar πŸ˜€ ), Princes Street Gardens, National Museum of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery etc. But I also – got super lucky – managed to catch a preview of a Fringe comedy. It was hilarious (I always get picked on in comedy shows, and as per usual, was picked on in the crowd!). Nazeem Hussain is the name, and lots of like brown/Muslim/Asian jokes in the context of living in Australia and having been on the show ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’ ensued. It was really lovely because he came out after the show and found me outside to talk to me and my friend Zhuo’er. We also managed to catch a preview of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – which was quite the experience! It’s this huge showcase of performers from across the world. I would defo recommend it if you ever have the chance to see it – but don’t be stupid like me – make sure you wear a coat and not just a thin hoodie like I did! I also visited the main cafes that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, which was lovely experience for me as an uber Potter fan, although I keep my fandom for most things low-key.

It was honestly the best place to for me to do my first ever solo trip, coz if you know me, then you know how useless I am at geography and directions and just navigating the basics of day-to-day life. I absolutely love Edinburgh; I found it to be the most romantic city, Scottish accents are actually super cute/sexy and the art scene is just <3.Β  The trip will always be special to me and have a nostalgic feel to it, as I was getting to know someone new, and vice-versa, and learning and discovering things about myself that I had never really contemplated deeply before. All-in-all, one of my favourite trips to date and I can’t wait to go back again.

Cotswolds

Girls weekend trip – long overdue. Booked a super-nice hotel and made the most of it by exploring the grounds and staying in. Lots of games, food and catching up ❀

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Derby

Attended a friend’s wedding and then ended up exploring the city the next day because my friend’s car broke down. It’s not too shabby.

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As you can see, been less anti-social this month, so yeh.

Watching…

Game of Thrones

Obvs. Literally my love for Little Finger will never die. NEVERRR. The best part of GoT? Discussing it with people after you’ve watched it WHO HAVE ALSO WATCHED IT AT AN APPROPRIATE TIME AND NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT GODDAMN SPOILERS. WATCH IT ON TIME PPL OR GO AWAY.

Titanic

Watched it in the cinema for its 20th anniversary. Still made me cry at the end which took me by surprise ngl. Still love the movie. Literally has everything a great movie should have – art, romance, psychology, water, Victorian values, a tragic ending.

Side-note: don’t watch a movie where the main character’s name has the same name as the person you are dating and * also * watching the movie with. Heh heh. Just don’t. LOOL. Hard to keep a straight face at certain scenes. Legit, I’m so immature sometimes. But that’s meeee.

Ted Talks

Would recommend.

 

Eating…

ME FEELINGS.

Literally spent so much money on eating out this month I’m scared to look at my bank statements : / / /

Here are some visuals.

 

P.S. developed a love of egg tarts this month, not sure if it’s because food in Edinburgh tastes better than in the South, but I never really liked them before and now I’m kinda crazy for them. Tbh I like anything egg-related so it’s not too surprising.

P.S.S. Also had McDonald’s far too many times. I’m trying to squish this out of my memory. Anyone else realise how salty the stuff is? No wonder it’s soooo addictive ergh. I LOVE SALT.

HONESTLY ATE SO MUCH JUNK THIS MONTH WANNA CRY.

But I won’t.

#fatfriends #fatwana

 

Writing…

I’ve had a number of things to be inspired by this month. Check out my attempts at poetic expression here:

Drawing…

Regret.

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“And now it’s too late.”

Focusing on…

My health

Physical, mental, everything. “Health is wealth” as they say. Dunno if this is a random line from an old Bollywood movie or whatever, but this is what my main focus needs to be right now. So that means eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, getting enough down time, spending time with family and friends and those who add value to my life, and of course, more time at my favourite coffee shop ❀ Being unwell has meant that I haven’t been able to always navigate my relationships or myself around others as I normally would. Which has been a real shame. Those who knew me before I got unwell and then after, can certainly tell the difference in me as a person. I am getting better and I intend to make a full recovery, but it’s an ongoing struggle.

Also side-note: things don’t always work out when you meet someone new, especially when you’re trying to navigate aforementioned issues, and it can be upsetting but you just have to get over it. Squash yo feelings. I’m like a pro at that and it gets you through stuff peeps that’s all I’m saying. #lifeadvice

My art

One of my key areas of focus as of recently. My art is a reflection of myself, my feelings, thoughts, my life events, etc. so many things. I used to worry that if anyone saw it they could see exactly what I was thinking, and the thought of that sort of terrified me. But now, I’m like – meh. People should be able to see or tell what you’re feeling. Art is expression. Otherwise, it’s sort of deadpan really. I’ve connected with so many people by sharing my art and now feel so much more confident about it; just looking through the pieces I’ve worked on this year, I can already see huge improvements in my style and technique. Which makes me πŸ˜€

I’ve also got my first commission for a friend – so excited to start on painting that!! Just ordered the canvas – going to be the biggest piece I’ve done to date. Hoping to finish that by the end of next week, so will share on social/next month blog’s post.

Hope August has been a good month for you – where is this year going!?! MAKE IT STAP.

Monthly Musings, Entry 04 | July 2017

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 πŸ˜€ 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.

Listening to…

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!

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Reading…

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… : /

 

Watching…

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 :mrgreen:

Eating…

More like DRINKING WAAY TOO MUCH COFFEE THIS MONTH. LEGIT EVERYDAY. Shop bought Β£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.Β 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…

Visiting…

Bicester Village

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 πŸ™‚

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Writing…

Honestly. Zilch.

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.

Drawing…

My feelings.

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“I don’t know what I…”

Trying…

Well… just trying I guess…

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.

First dates

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.

Monthly Musings, Entry 03 | June 2017

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?

Listening to…

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 πŸ˜€ Fave song is ‘Unthinkable’ and I’ve been listening to various takes on this song by other artists too this month.

JHENE AIKO

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 πŸ™‚ ), 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?

Reading…

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???

PHYSIQONOMICS

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.

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Simply outstanding.

Celebrating…

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 πŸ˜€

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Credit to my beautiful and talented sister, and all time ❀ Jamila ❀

Watching…

BBC NEWSNIGHT

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.

Writing…

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.

Visiting…

BUDAPEST BABY

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.

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Got my insta-shot.
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Late night wander on the banks of the Danube.
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At the top of Gellert Hill.

Eating…

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!

Drawing…

Finally/sorta finished this. Inspired by events in March.

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When you see things you don’t wanna see.

Reconnecting…

With my nephews on weekly coffee dates for a catchup ❀ Fully indulging in the pleasures of being an aunty ❀

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Introducing him to civilisation.

Trying…

Not to find life depressing AF πŸ˜€

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.