30 July 2015

Take note

Amongst the generally disorganised nature of my life, notebooks are my solace. Whether or not I stick to them, I love making lists and I dedicate entire books to just that. Then I can at least pretend that I am attempting organisation. It's a form of mental yoga - it creates calm.

To fulfil my unquenchable urge to note, I spend an embarrassing amount of my income on paper bound in pretty covers. And I spend an even more embarrassing amount of time lusting over a plethora of notepads that I don't even end up buying. Recently I'm on a spending ban, but that hasn't stopped me dreaming...

Quick, curious, playful, strong notebook - $14.95 Kate Spade // Noted note book flamingo - £25 Paperchase // Ted Baker "Away with words" notepad - £9.95 Ted Baker at Paper Ducks // Oh snap mint green and silver notebook - £26 Urban Outfitters // World domination orange notepad - £10 Topshop // Marble journal - $12 Urban Outfitters US 

28 July 2015

Finding the sweetness in solitude

There's a certain sweetness to chosen solitude. An independence that I find impossible to fully grasp in any other way. I'm not talking utter seclusion, just occasional moments dedicated to taking a breath alone and attacking things from a purely selfish perspective. As much as I hate admitting it and revealing that I am not in fact a social butterfly, being with people all of the time drains me. Frankly, sometimes I want to eat whatever I so desire without having to worry about friends' food allergies and whether my partner likes Mexican. Because I love veggie burritos.

Sometimes, and only sometimes, silence is wonderfully refreshing. Giving yourself time alone is a chance for reflection and planning in regards to you and your life only. It's one of the rare points in life where we can practice self love in such a concentrated way. Which is why this summer I'm not going to force myself to agree to every single social commitment I'm offered just because I feel I should. I understand the benefits of occasional alone time so I will be basking in them. And I think you should try it to, using some of the ideas bellow as a jumping off point.

Eat alone

This is a foreign concept to most people in a society where we embrace eating as families or in social circles. The idea of walking into a restaurant (a restaurant of your choice, may I add?) and asking for a table for one is daunting. In fact, it's kind of terrifying. Yet most of your fellow customers will probably admire your boldness. You decided that you deserve a meal out. You get to decide on the wine as well as having some precious time to simply watch the world pass by outside without having to force small talk.

Solo travel 

Calm down. I'm not suggesting you hop on the first flight to Thailand with nothing but your notepad and a smile. Unless you want to, because I totally vibe with that idea. I just mean that there is nothing more liberating that travelling somewhere alone, even if it is just an hour away by train. I promise that you will never have felt such utter freedom as when you have 24 hours or longer with which to do whatever the hell you want. You'll also learn to trust yourself and your abilities since you are the only person constantly on hand to help you out.

Shop without guidance 

"Does this outfit say 'I'm totally over you but look how hot I am now' or is it too booby?" - one of many questions I am sure have been posed to a best friend in the Topshop changing rooms. It's great to have an outside opinion sometimes but we all need to stop caring so damn much about whether others will like the way we choose to clothe our bodies. Only you have the true power to decide whether it is in fact "too booby".

Cook in a quiet kitchen 

A hard one for me since my boyfriend is a chef and my Mum/Dad may as well be. I find it nearly impossible to bake a cake without asking "which one is a tablespoon again?" even though I whole heartedly know the answer. Honestly, I need to get a grip of said tablespoon and find my cooking independence. I want to bake a chocolate avocado cake and I will bake a chocolate avocado cake. Because that's the kind of thing independent women do. I'm sure that's what Beyoncé does in between touring actually.

25 July 2015

4 reasons to travel while you're young

On the first page of one of my favourite journals is written the J.R.R Tolkien quote "not all those who wander are lost"- a sentence I like to remember in order to encourage my ongoing wanderlust. I have an unquenchable urge to travel, which is only temporarily quashed when I am in the process of discovering a new place, be it abroad or otherwise. Luckily, when you're young the world is your oyster. 18 is the perfect age to explore the world.

Whilst it's being constantly drilled into us that the only beneficial paths to take in life involve uni and a stable career, it's important to bare in mind the various benefits that accompany a life of wandering.

Traveling gives you independence 

Travel has taught me to have faith in my ability to be independent and I know that I am completely capable of looking after myself. Not only do I now feel ready to run head first into uni life, but I feel like my parents are more comfortable with it too. If I can survive "The Dam" I can certainly survive Roehampton.

Traveling is the best education

Travel only heightened my already rather large dislike of the UK's organised lower education system. I learnt so much more walking around Gran Canaria's Puerto de Morgán market and Amsterdam's Red Light District than I have in any classroom. By that I mean that I won't forget the lessons travel taught me because I had a genuine interest and wasn't just cramming information into my brain in order to secure UCAS points. More to the point, the lessons I absorbed whilst abroad are helpful in my actual life, unlike some "academic" teachings (trigonometry, I'm looking at you).

Traveling gives you great tea time conversation topics 

Simply, travel can make you more interesting to talk to. Proof: "One time when I was in Amsterdam we crashed an office leaving party at an architectural firm and got given a tour of their astounding offices. On the same night we saw someone get rejected by a prostitute and had to help another man who had taken way too much ecstasy and weirdly only lived 20 minutes from my house in the UK."

Traveling is a form of self-discovery 

When you're young there is so much more to be added to you as a person. You're not the finished product yet. I'm not saying travel is essential to finding yourself, but surely through experiencing a range of cultures it becomes easier to decide how you want to govern your life. It gives you choice. Whereas if you only ever see one picture you're probably going to replicate it endlessly.

23 July 2015

My mind at the moment: Radical peace

I'm embracing change. I'm craving new places and long walks with no destination. I want to fill my house with greenery. I have a growing faith in the support I can give others and the support they give in return. I'm inspired by lives that don't take themselves too seriously, by messy hair and by oneness. The realisation that the most radical thing you can do is love yourself has hit me all at once. 

21 July 2015

Craving change

Have any of you realised that I have been craving change recently? That goes not only for my room and my situation on this planet, but also for my appearance. I want to strip everything back. In particular, my hair. I'm daydreaming about chopping off my insanely long locks in favour of an easy to maintain "lob cut". I want to keep my curls but without the hassle of a serious arm work out every time I attempt some kind of hair care.

The thought is terrifying yet refreshing. And I think I'm going to do it.

(Obviously, none of these pictures are my own)

19 July 2015

Big dreams, small wages

My desire to live in a world where money isn't a "thing" and we live as one unit who cooperate and help each other as necessary is sometimes overwhelming. However, my desires to successfully graduate university and to travel are also overwhelming, and more so than the previously mentioned. So, to an extent, I need money - It's hard to barter with university finical departments and with airlines. I have come to accept that.

Minimum wage in the UK for those my age is pretty much appalling though, so when it comes to my dreams of travelling to the far corners of the earth I have to put serious time and effort into saving the funds. My past two trips abroad to Amsterdam and Gran Canaria, plus my future visit to V Festival, were all entirely funded by me working on under 18 minimum wage (£3.79 an hour) as a waitress. All I can say is thank God for tips! Soon I will be heading back to my old job since exams and my international travels are complete, meaning that the saving is to once again begin. It took me (more than) a few months to figure out this savings malarkey, but I think I finally cracked it.

Carrying cash 

I never use my card in shops anymore. Ever. I withdraw the money at an ATM so that it is more tangible and therefore more heartbreaking to part with. I can go wild on chia seeds and agave nectar in Tesco when I have my card on me, but knowing that I only have a £20 note to work with limits myself in the best way possible.


Change has honestly been the main cause of my saving success over the past year. Whenever I got tips or had coins in my purse I put them straight into one of my two money pots - one for £1 and £2 coins and one for everything else. If they had been floating in the bottom of my bag I would have forgotten them and had they been in my purse I would have spent them on food. But as it was, after roughly a year I had over £500 in just change, aka enough to pay for a whole holiday!

The "wait a week" technique 

Any time I am tempted to buy something non-essential (clothes, shoes, books), I wait a week between putting it in my online basket and actually pressing purchase. If I still want whatever it is by that time then I treat myself, but usually I'm kind of over it. I guess I'm weening myself off the thrill of impulse buying.

16 July 2015

5 things Amsterdam taught me

1. Places change at night

During the day, I vibe with the Dam. It's a hub of creative people with beautiful minds in an equally beautiful setting. Being there is like being amid a constant buzz of passion, be it for art, vegetarianism or business. At night, it's seedy. Interesting to view as a spectator but enough to make me realise that I couldn't live in the main parts of Amsterdam, unless I converted to smoking weed and didn't mind being stared at like a piece of meat by drunk men.

2. England should bike more

The Dutch adore their bikes. Honestly, if you don't nearly get run over by a cyclist at least twice on a four day trip to Amsterdam then you're doing something wrong. Like staying in your hotel room for the whole time. Despite the fear of imminent peril every time I heard a bike bell, I'm a little jealous that the UK hasn't yet followed in their footsteps (or wheel prints?). Imagine the benefits that would follow the government pumping some money into creating good cycle paths and encouraging everyone to get on their bikes instead of driving. We'd all have more money, be more healthy and would have our beautiful planet for a while longer.

3. People are nice

Amsterdam taught me to trust people, despite the fear ingrained in me by the media, school and parents. People, aside from the extremely rare cases, would rather help you than hurt you. Without kind locals we would not have found our way to many of the glorious experiences that we had. Or have been allowed to use as many random hotel/restaurant toilets.

4. When you get the chance to dance, do it!

It was dancing that allowed us to be invited to join in an architect's office leaving party playing out on the streets of the Red Light District. This eventually led  to a whole tour of the building by one particularly drunk worker, which was absolutely astounding in its beauty.

5. Always invest in a good map

Free tourist maps are never enough. Never.

14 July 2015

25 before I'm 20: Giving blood

As I mentioned in my last post I'm determined this summer to make a huge dent in my "25 before I'm 20" list. Today I was able to cross one thing off with a smile on my face and the bandage still on my arm - I gave blood.

I gave blood and I live to tell the tale. In fact, I gave blood and can only feel where the needle went in if I prod it (top tip: don't prod where the needle went in). It was all just so easy. The whole thing made it even more shameful that I didn't give blood as soon as I could when I turned 17. Nonetheless, I am proud of myself for finally getting around to doing it now.

For those of you that have never given blood before, I'll briefly explain the process. Bare in mind I'm not a doctor, I just write stuff! There are forms to fill out when you get there, you have to clarify your name and address a few times, you get an iron level test through a finger prick and then you have blood taken from whichever arm you don't write with. Lastly (the best part), free food! Especially when it's your first time giving blood you're encouraged to sit down and have a snack with something to drink for about 15 minutes after donating. To be honest, even when it's not my first time I will be taking full advantage of the custard creams on offer.

The whole thing took less than an hour and the tiny bit of pain was absolutely nothing in comparison to knowing that I could be helping to save someone's life. And was getting free food at the end of the process...

13 July 2015

Summer goals

It's the summer before I start uni, which means it's a long'un. A summer holiday so beautifully long I could just kiss it, were time not an abstract human construct. Having that amount of free time could go one of two ways - It will be either wonderfully fulfilling and productive or I will spend my time on Instagram. And I am determined not to let this opportunity to check off a massive amount from my "25 before I'm 20" list slip past because I'm looking through pictures of yogis and smoothies. There's a lot of things I want to (and will) achieve over the next couple of months.

Go phone and internet free for 24 hours 

Not only will leaving my phone alone for a whole day allow me to be more productive and achieve some of things mentioned later, but it will hopefully let me decrease my internet dependency. When I'm bored I want to start turning to books or actual conversations as opposed to mindless scrolling. 

Watch the sun set and sun rise 

I'm obsessed with the natural world, particularly the sky. But for someone who lives so close to the coast, I don't watch the sun rise or set nearly enough, So this summer I want to give myself some time to simply watch the sky change colour, probably with a flask of tea in hand. 

Keep a summer scrap book 

I have already done so much kick ass stuff this past few weeks. I went to Amsterdam and to Gran Canaria and in a month or so I will be hitting up V Fest. Those are the sorts of things that need to be documented, and not just online! I already have a beautiful note pad at the ready thanks to my Dad's christmas present picking skills, which I will be turning into a summer/travel scrap book. 


I will get better at yoga. I will practice whenever possible. I will. 

Learn more Greek 

My boyfriend is Greek and whilst he has taught me the occasional phrase ("good morning", "my camel", "beer") I really want to explore the language more this summer. I'm determined to learn to write and recognise the alphabet and to extend my extremely limited vocabulary. 

Clear out my wardrobe 

Spring cleaning is overrated anyway. I'm going to uni and I simply won't have the space to keep all of my clothes and shoes and bags in my halls. So the time has come to hold back the tears and have a serious clear out. 

Give blood 

Another of my "25 before I'm 20" list, tomorrow I will be giving blood for the first time. This is something that I have been wanting to do for years but have somehow, rather shamefully, not got around to. Each time you give blood you can help up to 3 people and if that's not a good way to spend your summer, I don't know what is. 

11 July 2015

6 things Gran Canaria taught me

1. You never stop learning about the people you love 

When you spend every minute of every day with one person, you explore new levels of their being. One of the wonders of human nature is that conversations have the power to never completely cease if you are speaking to the right person, especially when you are spending every minute of a whole week with someone. 

2. To never underestimate the power of good foot care. 

The heat is bad for your feet. Walking in flip flops is bad for your feet. Chlorine is bad for your feet. Basically, holidays are just bad for your feet. Packing any moisturiser that is less than industrial-strength was a foolish, foolish mistake that only ended in painful tootsies. 

3. Being a holiday rep after uni is a good idea.

Maybe in the next three years I’ll somehow figure out where my life is headed in terms of a career, but if not then spending a year or so in another country certainly sounds like a good idea - A change of scene whilst I figure things out. Gran Canaria taught me that it's okay to travel a less conventional path; that I don't have to instantly start an office job because I can't yet visualise another future perfectly. 

4. To travel outside of my friendship circles. 

Having spent the past 13 years of my life in formal education, it comes as second nature to befriend people that are my age and have a similar upbringing. A 4x4 excursion around the mountains of Gran Canaria thrust us together with a huge variety of people, including the couple from Hull and their 10 year old son who are probably some of the nicest (and most hilarious) people I’ve ever met. 

5. To not be so worried. 

My first trip abroad without my parents went pretty much seamlessly (minus our 4 hour late check out). So why was I so worried? Gran Canaria taught me to trust myself more and not be scared of the unknown, which usually works out to be pretty damn wonderful. 

6. Money is almost irrelevant 

In the middle of Puerto Mogán market, we spoke to a woman running a jewellery stall for a living. After we remarked on the amazingly cheap price of some of her pieces, she explained that she didn’t care about the money, as long as she had enough “for bread and a roof”. She told us that when she was younger she didn’t realise that health and happiness are the only human necessities. 

8 July 2015

Inspiring spaces

In a couple of months time I will be flying the nest. Only during uni term time, but it counts! Although I'm beyond nervous to be temporarily leaving behind my own room and comfy bed, I'm also excited at the opportunity to create a new, inspiring space. And I am prepared for this moment. With the help of Tumblr and the like I've created many an album full of house/room inspo over the years, usually comprised of things that will be borderline impossible to recreate.

Recently I've been loving light spaces full of greenery to disrupt minimalism. A kind of modern meets boho vibe. Don't worry, I don't believe I can build a spiral stair case covered in climbing hydrangeas in my halls' bedroom. These are just my starting points for creating a room that makes me happy and gives off a similarly positive vibes.

6 July 2015

Puerto de Mogán market

Markets can tell you a lot about a place. I think they give brief insight into cultures and into people, letting you get utterly lost within them for a few hours. Unlike the sanitised, wipe-clean hotel rooms we are likely to stay in on holiday or the tours which reel of facts and figures, markets give you a feeling. A truer sense of life in that place which you are only experiencing for a week or two.

You get to see the raw - men thrusting wooden hippo statues in your face and promising you a good deal so that they can feed themselves - and the beautiful - the handmade creations valued by a society and being sold to its visitors. You get street food as well as the restaurants which line the pavements. Grit as well as orchestration. It's almost microcosmic.

I know for a lot of people my compulsion to visit street markets each time I travel abroad seems strange. They're busy and hot and difficult to navigate. But so worth it. This was definitely the case with my recent trip to the market of Puerto de Mogán on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria, a stone's throw away from our home for the week in Puerto Rico. I'm in love with Mogán. If you had asked me to draw my dream town (and I was actually capable of drawing well) Mogán would be it. Apparently quiet during the rest of the week, on Fridays it's a pulse of energy: alive with the smell of cooking seafood and the flowers that seem to fill every spare crevice. As well as towels printed with the players of Real Madrid and fake "Beats" headphones, stalls are thriving with raw aloe vera, spices like bay leaves and cumin, and traditional art work. It really is glorious.

For me, the visit to Mogán was a bordering on spiritual experience, not because it's the best market I've ever visited, but because it has made me want to explore new cultures more than ever. I learnt that it is through feeling new places that I flourish.

2 July 2015

Why you should buy it: LUSH Ultrabland cleanser

I've always loved Lush products, their ethical values and the fact that you can hunt down any of their shops with your nose alone. Recently, after far too long of avoiding Lush to save my pennies, I decided to have a little splurge. I got my classic picks like the Comforter Bubble Bar but also got a few new things to try out, including the Ultrabland Cleanser. And thank goodness I did just that.

This product is the best thing to happen to my skin since drinking more than 2 litres of water a day. It has saved my face from post exam spots and dryness in a big way. It's worked so wonderfully that I honestly can't see myself using any other cleanser. Ever.

Unlike less natural products, the wonder of this bad boy is the fact that it doesn't dry out your skin thanks to its use of rosewater and iris flower. Despite its gentleness though it still packs a punch. Ultrabland removed all of my makeup as well as any hidden gunk from underneath, it's one of those things that makes you realise how dirty your face really gets. It's disgusting at first but is essentially the facial equivalent of yoga.

One of my favourite things about Lush products is that you can use them in any way that you see best. No rules. The pot suggests either removing the cleanser with a warm flannel or a cotton pad. So far I've stuck with the trusty flannel, but no doubt I'll explore other techniques in the near future.

If you get the chance, pick up a pot of Ultrabland. Your skin and your selfies will thank you.