Monthly Musings | November 2017

Monthly Musings | November 2017

Guess what? I finally passed my DRIVING TEST!! Yeh, I couldn’t believe it either. Think my instructor was relieved too lol. Took me ages but got there in the end. It was one of my New Year’s goals and I’m so glad I did it!

ALSO NEVER BEEN SO EXCITED ABOUT A ROYAL WEDDING. If I knew Prince Harry was into brownies I would have been all over it yearsss ago. But honestly, Meghan Markle is like my WCW, EVERY WEDNESDAY. I have been a super huge fan of hers since her early days on Suits and can’t believe she’s marrying into the royal family. Super epic news; they make the cutest couple and can’t wait to see what their wedding will be like next year!

In other exciting news, I’ve also started a secondment at work for a few months on a research project. Really looking forward to getting my head stuck in that! I will be giving up my managerial duties and responsibilities of my current role to focus on this project so hopefully will be less stressful and really help to highlight my analytical skills when it comes to marketing.

Reading…

The One by John Marrs

This is a real page turner. I thought the concept was really fascinating – an online dating site which matches people based on their DNA so they know they have found ‘the one’. It’s fiction by the way, although my original impression was that it was non-fiction! I really enjoyed reading it and it’s been a while since I’ve consumed a book in such a short space of time. Gonna give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

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Really got into flat whites this month too!

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

Beautiful love story set in the early 20th century/Victorian era (and you know how I feel about the Victorian times heh heh) about two people who meet in an asylum. It’s on Richard and Judy’s Book Club list so knew this would be right up my street!

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Always at Coffee#1

Visiting…

Tenerife

Wit ma old skool Cambridge crew. I slept for most of it; I think I left my bed for like one day for a city excursion lol. We ended up staying at this place full of old people; was hilarious. The sunshine and space to think through my thoughts and catch up with one of my best mates was the best kind of therapy though. So many late night bants and laughter ❤

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Love dem palm tress and sunsets.
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Day excursion somewhere.
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I didn’t go here but the guys did.

I also ate lots of yummy food – which is the best part of being on hol obviously.

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Epic view and food.
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We got really obsessed with drinking cortados with sweet milk.

I also got to spend some time with myself which is what I really needed after quite a few stressful months which has made me more anxious about stuff than I would normally be.

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Woman at this cafe didn’t speak English. Was proud of my Espanol.
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Waffle didn’t taste as good as it looked ngl.

My advice? Holiday with guys if you can – life is soooo much easier and chillaxed. They took such good care of me and they’re great for logistics! ^_^ We’re hoping to make this an annual thing!

Celebrating…

Passing my driving test as mentioned earlier ^_^ and CIM graduation regarding my Diploma in Professional Marketing which I completed earlier this year. Grateful for some good things happening this month.

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Finally!

Watching…

Louis Theroux: Talking to Anorexia

A BBC documentary I watched this month on the recommendation of a friend. Although it focuses on anorexia, which is possibly the most physically visible of known eating disorders, the psychological grip, key characteristics (such as exercising control, self-punishment, irrational thought patterns and feelings of worthlessness), body dysmorphia and the debilitating impact it can have on an individual’s relationships with others and their quality of life, is also the same for those suffering from bulimia and binge eating disorder. The show really shows the grip that an eating disorder can have on an individual – it is foremost a mental disorder. The way it clouds your judgement and manifests itself is so malignant, that it becomes all consuming and takes over your whole life. The psychological grip is honestly crazy.

If you have the time, I would highly recommend watching this documentary.

Murder on the Orient Express

Finally made it to the Showcase Cinema in Southampton, and the seats are certainly something to rave about. I don’t go to the cinema often (because all movies as of late are absolutely shiteeee), but a number of people had recommended Murder on the Orient Express to me so thought I would give it a watch. There was certainly a fab cast of actors which drew me in, but I think the movie lacked depth in terms of character development and exposition – it all felt a bit rushed. I enjoyed it nonetheless, and didn’t fall asleep hoorayy! It was my first time encountering Agatha Christie’s Poirot and I love Kenneth Branagh so I was like YAY YAY YAYY, but not sure if I would recommend watching the movie to others though hmmm. But I’m a hard gal to impress.

Writing…

Some really popular posts on my blog this month! If you haven’t read them already, here they are:

Focusing on…

Recovery

Trying to get as much sleep as possible and using tools that I have discovered this month, like the ‘wise mind’ – not sure if you’ve ever heard of it, but it’s the space between the ‘rational mind’ and the ’emotional mind’ and avoids the ‘all or nothing’ approach to life when it comes to making decisions, dieting etc. I’m finding it super useful so far. I’m also practicing mindfulness and slowing things down a bit, especially mindful eating which I’m finding a really interesting experience in terms of just being more in tune with my internal sensations and feelings. I’ve also been detoxing off social media/the Internet as much as possible this month, which I find to be great for mental health. And as per usual, have been taking time out in coffee shops reading ❤

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A new favourite spot in Waterstones Cafe.

Buying my own place!

Currently in the process of buying my own flat – super stressful! My New Year goal for 2018 is to have all this complete! EXCITED but have quite a way to go to getting this all sorted! I am lucky that I have my super experienced sisters to help me see the process through 🙂

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Six pieces of life advice from people I’ve met

Six pieces of life advice from people I’ve met

I count myself as very fortunate. I’ve met lots of different and incredible people throughout the trajectory of my life so far, and they have imparted words that have resonated with me far longer than they may have realised would at the time. I’ve been reflecting on these lately; this year has thrown lots of curve balls at me and everyday I am trying to move forward and face those challenges. I’m a thinker, perhaps more aptly an overthinker, and my overthinking has led me to writing this blog post and sharing these nougats of wisdom with ye all.

1. On not being a lemon

Best friend growing up: “He ain’t thinking about you so why you thinking about him?!”

I remember being in Year 8 and getting my first mobile phone – it was a black Siemens with a glowing orange screen. God I used to love topping it up and texting Uzma. We’d giggle over the boys we’d fake car race to Secondary School every morning. I was in love with this dude from way back in Junior School – who attended the ‘sister’ all boys Secondary School of ours (I went to an all girls’ school and yes it was horrendous). I think I nicknamed him something like ‘Loverboy’ (LOOOL) – and it got to such a point of ridiculous fantasising about my future with him – the wedding, marriage, babies, white picket fence etc. – that my best friend, positive I’d lost the plot, snapped at me one day, sick of my constant whining and pining: HE AIN’T THINKIN ABOUT YA SO WHY YA THINKIN BOUT HIM. I was a bit like O__O for a few seconds and then the penny dropped. Yeh. Self-explanatory really. Kinda just clicked after that. I realised I was wasting mind space and capacity on someone who probably hadn’t thought about me twice since we sat awkwardly together in Year 6 staring at the word ‘breast’ (we were reading Macbeth and increasingly becoming traumatised by it); I could, and really should, be investing on expending such brain energies on more productive things. Mind these are the wise words of like a 12 year-old girl. I got over dat boy fast and stuck my head in books for 10++ years+

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LOVED THIS PHONE SO MUCH OMG.

Footnote: Funny thing is that I was reunited with Loverboy at sixth-form/college, and we even work in the same organisation today!! Crazy how life works round in circles like that – and my feelings today? ZERO TO THE ZERO. But at one point in-between Junior School / Secondary School / College I did find out he had a thing for me – so maybe I wasn’t wasting time daydreaming after all haha! I also went through a similar thing at uni (probs why I didn’t get a first lool that’s what I tell myself!). Life lesson: don’t spend time on people who aren’t spending time on you. If you want em – make it clear and go get them. Wanting them inside your head isn’t going to bring them any closer. Don’t waste yo time pplz. Study hard. Cultivate those mental faculties of yours. You’ll be better off. Trust me.

2. On love

A guy I was seeing: “Sometimes, you just have to take the plunge.”

My response? I remember looking over at him in the car with big eyes and saying: “But the plunge has to be worth it, right?” God I regret saying this so much. I honestly don’t even know why I said this. I think I saw some random self-proclaimed ‘love-guru’ on YouTube once say this lame-ass line, and it just came out of my mouth like a caterpillar without me even thinking twice about it. I thought I sounded great saying it, like all high and mighty and shit. Playing hard to get or whatever. When it comes to love and falling for someone, THE PLUNGE IS ALWAYS WORTH IT. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS. JUMP INTO THAT GAPING WIDE HOLE WAITING TO SUCK YOU UP. No matter how scary, how daunting, how terrifying – the plunge is always, always, worth it. I cannot stress this enough. Otherwise you’re just putting up barriers. Those who wear their hearts on their sleeves get so much more from love, relationships and life. Easier said than done, but it’s worth looking at love and life this way. Go all in.

3. On making solid investments

Managing Director of the previous company I worked for: “In life, the two most important things to invest in are a good bed and a pair of shoes, because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other.”

Best piece of advice I’ve ever heard if there was one. She told me this over company drinks when I ended up hovering in front of her and was like ‘SHEEEET HAVE TO MAKE CONVO WITH THE MANAGING DIRECTOR’ (this was inside my head of course). She was tipsy and we got talking and when she came out with this line it was like the stars and rainbows and unicorns had all aligned inside my head and the galaxies of the universe. I was like HOLY MOLY ROLY POLY this is all I need to know to be happy and comfortable for the rest of my life! No more skimping on dem shoes!!

Me, everyday.

4. On smashing exams and tests

My favourite English teacher: “Go in there and enjoy it. Show those examiners what you are made of!”

I had one of the most inspirational English teachers in Secondary School: Mrs Cosford. I absolutely loved her – not only did she believe in me and my writing, but she had a way of galvanising all her pupils to become scrupulous students and ignite their passion in English Literature – even the chavs in our class. She gave me the best piece of advice when it came to accomplishing exams and all manner of tests: “Go in there and enjoy it. Show those examiners what you are made of!” No one had ever framed exams as something to be enjoyed. It was always foretold as something negative, as an opportunity to be tested, held up to scrutiny, to fail. By saying this to me, when I was a wee bairn getting ready to sit my GCSEs in Year 10, she completely turned the whole notion of sitting exams for me on its head. I took this piece of advice and attitude, and applied it across my whole academic life. And it has made a wonder of difference for me. It really made me enjoy what I was studying and look forward to the prospect of – as my friend would say –‘smashing it’ – in exams.

5. On pursuing whatever you want to pursue

Friend of a friend I met at a party: “You should do it. Go for it.”

I was at a friend’s annual Christmas party when I noticed a guy from uni that I had always seen and known of – you know when you have lots of friends in circles of friends but you’ve actually never spoken to each other – so since he was one of the few familiar faces in the room, I decided to make my way and say hello and see what he was up to. We got talking and I started to share my wistful writing dreams of becoming a published novelist one day. He simply just looked at me, directly in the eyes and said: “You should do it. Go for it.” The enthusiasm, poignancy and the belief with which he delivered this sentence to me, practically a stranger to him, really struck a cord. When he said those words, I could literally picture myself going from city to city on a book tour. It was so simple, but for a moment, it was as though I was taken out of that room with a renewed sense of confidence and self-belief. I was also speaking to him about going to New York and how I was in two minds, and he just simply looked at me and said the same thing. “You should do it. Go for it.”

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In my dreams. #booktour

In many ways, it’s exactly like Wayne Gretzky said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” After that party, I did start making written plans for my novel, and I did book my flights to New York with my friend. It was just a simple push, but it reminded me that there was no reason to doubt myself. Doubt kills a lot of dreams. Really, what have you got to lose by taking chances or pursuing what you really want to pursue? Apart from your pride, dignity and face? (LOL) At the end of the day, do those things really matter? Because let’s face it, the things we regret the most are the things we didn’t do or were afraid to do. Oh, and we all die so, it’s ok. Embarrass the crap out of yoself.

6. On trying your best everyday

University friend: “If and when you feel down, actively distract yourself with something. Make every effort not to wallow in your thoughts.”

Life is tough. We all encounter personal challenges daily, and I have been in the presence of those who have fought bravely in the face of some of the most difficult challenges that life can throw your way. A friend of mine who died from cancer last year, fell into depression when she first found out she was diagnosed with the disease. Yet, incredibly, she made every effort – and was determined – not to actively let herself get lost in her depression. I try and remember these words when I’m feeling down and fighting my own demons. My mental health is not as good as it used to be, and sometimes it’s just so much easier to give in and wallow in negative, self-sabotaging thoughts. It’s an ongoing battle, but you just have to get up everyday and fight it with your sword and armour. Knowing you’re striving towards your goals everyday helps I find. If you’re making every effort to actively distract yourself when you feel like you might let yourself be swallowed up by black thoughts – taking little steps everyday to avoid doing so will eventually make a change.

Monthly Musings | October 2017

Monthly Musings | October 2017

It’s been a mellow month for me. I feel like I wallow a lot. I think I must enjoy it on some level hmmmm…

Listening to…

DVSN – Morning After

I have been waiting for this album to release for ages! Have been pretty much listening to this on repeat (mostly at the gym woo) since it’s release on October 14th in the UK.

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Favourite tracks are:

  • Nuh Time / Tek Time (at 3.20 my feelings BEGIN)
  • Conversations in a Diner
  • Body Smile
  • Morning After
  • You Do

I’m a huge fan of Daniel Daley’s voice – I’m a 90s gal through and through so anything that reminds me of 90s R&B like Boys II Men, Brian McKnight, All-4-One etc. is like a win for me. Rolling Stone have described DVSN as “emotive, throwback R&B of the future” – and I couldn’t agree more. I loved their first album September 5th, and Morning After, although not as compelling (I feel they’re going somewhat more mainstream in their sound), it’s still a decent follow up. Bits of the album was inspired by the different types of film and music that they encountered on their travels, and this definitely comes across in the visuals of the album – especially the cover art, which I really like.

Jhené Aiko – Trip

This was released in September this year, and as I’ve finally downloaded the Spotify app on my iPod (going crazy on these free trials atm wooeee), I’ve been working my way through some more albums. I think I am enjoying this because it’s got a mellow psychedelic sound to it. Not sure how else to describe it. She herself has said it was shaped by her journey through grief (she lost her brother to cancer in 2012). This is probably why I can relate to it quite closely. Favourite song so far is ‘Ascension’, but I’m still working through the album.

Visiting…

Tate Britain

Literally so dumb – I was supposed to go to Tate Modern to see the Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power exhibition, but I didn’t realise there was more than one Tate until I rocked up at Tate Britain and was like ‘HI I WANNA SEE THIS EXHIBITION ASAP PLS’ (I was running low on ze time). And cute guy behind the counter was like ‘SORRY DEAREST YOU’RE AT THE WRONG PLACE – YOU’RE LOOKING FOR TATE MODERN BUT YOU’RE AT TATE BRITAIN YA NUMPTY’* (*may not be his exact words). I was annoyed at myself but this is what happens when ya fail to plan. FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL AS THEY SAY. Anyhow, since I was there, I thought I would make the most of it and have a wander. I was looking for some inspiration, not sure I found it but saw some interesting stuff. The young preppy private school boys trying to be subversive was my favourite bit tbh.

Watching…

13 Reasons Why

Finally got Netflix… FREE TRIAL OH YEH. I know, I know, I’m like donkeys of years behind the times or whatever, but hey hoo, got there in the end. Been wanting to watch this for a while as it has received a lot of coverage earlier this year (no doubt the fact that Selena Gomez is an executive producer on it helps!). If you’re not familiar with the premise, 13 Reasons Why is the story of Hannah Baker, a teenager in high school, who commits suicide after a series of events. Before her death however, she records 13 tapes detailing the individuals and the reasons that ultimately led her to take her life. The show addresses some really sensitive issues, including bullying, voyeurism, drug abuse, rape and, most key for me, mental health.

I found the actress Katherine Langford (who plays the protagonist Hannah Baker), really compelling. Her portrayal of Hannah’s internal conflict was really powerful, and it really brought to light the debilitating impact poor mental health can have on one’s actions. This is what really stood out for me in the show- it showed how mental health can profoundly affect every part of your life- from your ability to remember things to your interactions with others to how you digest any single situation. Hannah’s mental health meant she reacted to the situations she encountered differently to someone who doesn’t suffer from mental health issues might have. One of the key things about poor mental health, is that you can’t always process or think through things rationally or develop a tendency to overthink everything. Someone watching the show may think she overreacted in many situations, but anyone who’s ever struggled with their mental health or depression would understand that her reactions were perfectly normal or plausible in her context.

If you have the time, I would definitely recommend watching it. It’s got a lot of teen drama but the message the show aims to get across is a really important one. The pace can be a bit slow at times but I think it really lends itself to the seriousness of the issues its dramatising.

Thor: Ragnarok

Actually went to the cinema to watch this on a whim witnessing my baby sister’s excitement regarding the new Marvel movie (she loves all things Marvel da cutie). I legit never go to the cinema. Go like once a year or something. Anyhoo, once I found out Tom Hiddleston was in it I was like TAKE ME NOWWWW. I surprisingly enjoyed it – it was actually really entertaining and I did not, wait for it, fall asleep!! Lord behold. And that speaks volumes!

Reading…

Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach

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This is the main book I chose to read this month. Sticking to my New Year’s goal of reading at least ONE book per month. If you’ve been reading my posts, then you’ll realise that I have been choosing to read a lot more non-fiction this year and I have been really enjoying it. It keeps my mind engaged now that I am no longer a student – I love reading about new perspectives and ideas that open up my world view and challenge my current thinking and/ or perceptions. I am really into health/fitness/food so love reading anything around that. Fat is a Feminist Issue was recommended to me by a work colleague and am really enjoying it (have yet to finish it). It provides a compelling debate on female body image, dieting and the beauty narrative that continues to plague every woman today. 5 stars from me.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This has been all over the bestsellers list for Southampton this month so I also picked it up. It’s a crime-thriller and I enjoyed the light and easy read. I always seem to get into crime-thrillers during autumn/winter time- dunno why- must be something to do with the weather/mood/the time this genre is really pushed in the book shops or something. I’m also trying to balance out my reading pile by wading through one fiction and non-fiction book per month. It’s going ok so far. And as I’m off sick from work at the moment I have a bit more time on my hands. The Couple Next Door is about the tragedy that unfolds after a couple leaves their baby alone to enjoy a dinner party at the next door neighbour’s house, only to find when they get back that she is missing. DUN DUN DUNNN. I shall say no more 😉 .

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As usual I have also been buying and downloading more books than there will ever be enough time to read while I’m alive on this planet. But I’m certainly making the most of my Audible free trial (downloaded Ulysses the other day!) and picked up these babies below which I’m excited to get started on next month!

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Writing…

Haiku

Had my first go at writing poetry in the form of haiku this month. This is a Japanese form of poetry based on syllables 5-7-5 across three sentences, creating a distinct rhythm. I learnt about this last year during my writing course and decided to give it a go after looking through my notes. Here it is:

Top Five Regrets of the Living

I was inspired to write my top five regrets to date after reading the famous top five regrets of the dying. I really enjoyed writing it and reflecting on past events and seeing how I want to move forward.

World Mental Health Day (10th October)

I’ve wanted to write my thoughts on mental health for ages and finally got around to it after watching 13 Reasons Why. I will be publishing the post shortly so watch this space!

Focusing on…

Fitness goals

My cut has officially started. I have been messing around with losing the excess weight I have gained this year and it has not had a good impact on my mentality. Finally got my brain back in focus and have been ‘cutting’ i.e. in a calorie-deficit for a week now. It can be challenging when it seems like all your Mum or siblings want to do is sabotage every attempt to lose weight by buying all the junk food in the world and cooking the most deliciously aromatic Asian food. But I am in like my CRAZY FOCUS MODE – which means if I want something, I will be like a machine and just work towards that goal relentlessly. Like, don’t ever challenge me on something because I will rise to that challenge like that fat kid in Matilda who demolishes that chocolate cake in front of everyone to a round of deafening applause.

Mental health

I tend to overthink things and wallow a lot I find recently. Certain events in the past few months have left me feeling down and blue so trying to stay positive and do little things everyday that keeps me busy and productive, yet simultaneously trying not to overwhelm myself. It’s all part of me getting better and recovering ❤ . Reading and writing, lots of coffee, buying books, detoxing off social media, gymming to get those endorphins going and eating foodstuffs which make me feel good are just some of the things I’m doing to get myself up and running again 🙂 .

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 sometimes as 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!