day 31: a thank you

2014, Blogging, Inspiration, July

thank you for following, commenting, liking and sharing over the last 31 days. it really is always a blast when  blogging everyday in july and i also look forward to the little internet break i get to treat myself to afterwards.

some of my favourite posts include this interview, the soap box post, a letter to 16 year old me and this guest post.

now on to tackling my 30 things before 30 list.

once again thank you for joining me on this little journey.

m.

{p.s. i will be taking a little blogging break – but will be back soon!}

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day 30: a less | more list

2014, July
  1. less talking | more listening
  2. less worrying | more hoping
  3. less doubting | more believing
  4. less junk food | more salad
  5. less soda | more water
  6. less insecurity | more trust
  7. less screen time | more reading
  8. less thinking about creative projects | more making them happen
  9. less coach poatatoeing | more exercise
  10. do more yoga

m.

day 29: on being 29

2014, Blogging, Inspiration, July

i turned 29 this month and it is a slightly weird feeling to know i will be 30 in less than a year.

it’s also made me realise  i am still very young. i still have great experiences ahead of me as well as tough trials.

here are a few things i have learnt {and still continue to learn}:

  1. ten o’clock at night has become a respectable bedtime
  2. i wear what’s comfortable
  3. conversations with friends involve careers, relationships {over dating}, weddings, babies, mortgages…
  4. the thought of going to a bar with loud music just hurts my ears
  5. i’ve learnt not to take myself so seriously
  6. i’ve also learnt not to take things too personally
  7. bragging about how much sleep i got is a good thing
  8. going out in sweats and no make-up is no longer a social faux-pas. i. just. don’t. care.
  9. the thought of doing nothing for the weekend is glorious
  10. i have zero regrets on the money i have spent travelling

m.

day 27: the interview post | photographer, traveller, blogger

2014, Blogging, Culture, July, Travel

it’s nearly 1am and my eyes are basically closed {apologising in advance for grammatical/spelling errors}…AND this post is a day late…but i am so excited to get this post up, i wanted to do it before my head hit my pillow.

if you’ve been reading this blog for some time you’ll know that i adore travelling and i’m getting into photography. i also blog but alas you knew that since you are here.

i met jo back in may when we worked together temping at a sports company just outside of our home town. i’d like to think we clicked straight away! we found out we are both Christian and quite actively involved in our respective churches.

we also found out that we both love to travel {and blog & photograph}…

{all pictures belong to jo!}

1. Tell us a little about yourself
I’m Jo, I’m 25 and live and work in Reading. I graduated with a degree in Theology from Nottingham University 3 years ago and have been working in marketing ever since. At the moment I’m in and out of temporary jobs simply to raise funds for further travel – there are so many places I want to see and I feel like I’ve barely got started! Here’s a few things that sum me up pretty briefly:
  • I’m a Christian and my faith is pretty important to me.
  • I love the outdoors – especially skiing and cycling
  • My dream would be to photograph and blog my way around the world
  • I have a huge smile and love to make people laugh
  • I’m in complete denial that my ginger hair is slowly turning blond and brown…

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2. What first got you into photography?
I can’t even remember.  At first I just wanted to have a camera that took decent photos. But then I really began to realise that there was something special to capturing the moment and having that memory forever. Photos help to tell a story; of a person, a place, a specific moment in time. I love to capture the moments of beauty in this world and to share them with others.
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3. What made you love travelling?
I’ve always been on the generic family holidays to Spain / Canary Islands etc. But my first major trip abroad was when I was in year 12 at school. I was selected for a 4 week adventure with 14 other students and 5 teachers to head to Uganda –  we climbed Mount Elgon, re-furbished a school and tracked mountain Gorillas. This experience made me thirsty for more – and 2 years later I headed back to Africa during my Gap Year, this time to Swaziland where I volunteered at a pre-school. I still love the African continent to this day, and I’ve also been to Morocco 3 times – the first time I hitch-hiked there for charity – it’s a country I absolutely adore and I strongly suggest you visit if you haven’t. Africa gets under your skin, and I’m eager to visit again.
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4. What’s been your favourite place to photograph and why?
Oh wow. Most probably Morocco as I keep going back for more! Every town is different and yet all are so coloured. One of my favourite places in Morocco is Chefchaouen – known as the ‘blue town’. All the houses and streets are painted blue – it’s makes for brilliant photographs! I’ll try and get some on flickr soon – I don’t think I’ve done a blog post yet. Watch this space!
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5. What camera do you use?
Sony a230 – it’s ancient and a bit crappy but takes pretty decent photos. Hopefully upgrading soon though in time for my trip to Jordan!
6. Where is the most amazing landscape that you’ve ever photographed?
Gosh this is a tricky one. I love mountainous landscape – but not necessarily because I love photographing it. It’s just completely awe-inspiring. I adored hiking in the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia and the scenery was stunning to photograph. But also the Swiss Alps are pretty fantastic.
7. What place has touched you the most?
Incredibly tricky question! I think when I travelled to Swaziland during my Gap Year and worked with children at an orphanage in a place called Bulembu – those memories will stick with me forever. Bulembu was an old mining community in the mountains, so the houses look very Western, but now it’s filled with children. The whole town has basically become one big orphanage for abandoned children, it’s phenomenal. It was great to spend some time with them and play with them and get to know them. Some of the stories will stick with me forever. So this place probably touched me the most because of the stories I heard and the things I experienced – and also because of the scenery – it’s truly like no place you’ll ever go.
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8. Favourite city | food | night life | locals …go
I’m kind of biased and have to admit that my favourite city – out of all that I’ve been to around Europe, and even NYC – still has to be London. There’s so much to do and see, and even though I’ve been a million times (living in Reading does have its perks), there’s still something different to explore every time. And plus, I love taking the iconic London photos. One of my favourite cities when travelling around Europe though was Krakow. I spent much longer than anticipated here. The nightlife is great – all in underground cellar like rooms – it’s incredibly cheap and it’s also beautiful. Plus, I met some great people.
9. What have you learnt about yourself on your travels?
That I can put up with myself for longer than I thought! I’m very much an extrovert person and love being around people. During my 2 months of travelling by myself I thought I’d get lonely a lot, which I did at times. Although I was very rarely alone – I met so many people – it really made me value my own company. I valued being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. But then to seek company when I also wanted company. I was able to make big decisions – and anyone who knows me well knows how indecisive I really am – and this was a huge learning curve for me. It was fantastic. I think everyone should travel by themselves to truly discover who they are.
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10. Advice you have for anyone considering going travelling?
Go alone. You won’t regret it.
you can follow her tales and travels on her blog slaponsunscreen.wordpress.com
m.

day 28: a british summer | 101 things to do

2014, Blogging, Culture, Food, Inspiration, July, Travel

oh i do love a good british summer. humidity, rain, festivals, complaining about the rain, complaining about the heat, wimbledon. all of it.

stuck on things to do this summer? here’s 101 things to make sure you’re not bored:

  1. pick berries
  2. go to the beach
  3. camp in the back garden
  4. go to the playground
  5. attend a festival
  6. picnic in the park
  7. stroll along a river
  8. midnight film premier
  9. shop at the local farmer’s market
  10. plant a garden
  11. watch a sunrise
  12. watch a sunset
  13. make a slip and slide in your garden
  14. wimbledon
  15. zoo lates {london zoo from 6pm – 10pm}
  16. camp out on the beach
  17. run a marathon
  18. go speed dating
  19. see a west end show
  20. take a road trip
  21. learn a new skill
  22. go to a fun fair
  23. join the punters for a day at the races
  24. customise some old clothes
  25. make your own ice cream sundae
  26. go fishing and bbq your catch
  27. go fly a kite
  28. london walking tour
  29. bike ride
  30. york maze
  31. brick lane music hall {london}
  32. the national gallery
  33. dartmouth regatta
  34. south tyneside summer festival
  35. visit a library
  36. hever castle in kent
  37. summer history trail
  38. visit downton abbey
  39. windsor castle
  40. sandringham house & estate
  41. dinner party
  42. see a play at shakespeare’s globe
  43. take a boat out
  44. fish and chips on the coast – with proper newspaper wrapping
  45. see a ballet
  46. visit a museum
  47. go to a theme park
  48. join a meetup group and do something fun!
  49. attend a carnival {bristol, reading, notting hill or leeds}
  50. play cricket in the park
  51. try a free dance class – find a class near you
  52. see a live show
  53. open top bus tour
  54. hop on / hop off river thames tour
  55. attend the chelsea flower show
  56. bristol balloon festival
  57. summer soltice at stone henge
  58. read a book in the park
  59. drinks at the pub
  60. camden beach
  61. outdoor cinema
  62. open air theatre in regent’s park
  63. visit the olympic village
  64. attend a food festival
  65. go out an outdoor swimming pool
  66. lunch at a cafe
  67. go to a theme park
  68. attend an alternative festival
  69. attend the vintage fair
  70. thames festival
  71. explore an english garden
  72. manchester international festival
  73. a day at the beach
  74. international antiques & collectors fair
  75. #rsd market, london
  76. bestival
  77. go for a long weekend {edinburgh is on my list}
  78. spa treatments
  79. a week at the lake district
  80. holi festival of colours
  81. meatopia
  82. st johns bakery rooms
  83. attend a show at the royal albert hall
  84. british folk art
  85. more london free festival
  86. film4 summer screen
  87. open square gardens weekend
  88. go butterfly spotting
  89. build a bird box
  90. play night games
  91. try a new recipe
  92. make your own beauty treatments
  93. go hiking
  94. pick a book series
  95. get rid of all your unwanted stuff at a car boot sale
  96. collect sea shells at the beach
  97. make ice cream
  98. play ultimate frisbee
  99. make lemonade
  100. go star gazing
  101. have a bbq with friends

have fun!

m.

day 24: my favourite apps

2014, July

my favourite easy-to-use iphone apps!

for photo editing

  • a beautiful mess

6a00d8358081ff69e2019101f5e869970c-800wibecause this happens…

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  • afterlight – because you can do this…

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and this too

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for keeping in touch

  • viber – free international calls…whaaaaa? #signmeup
  • whatsapp – free international texting and voice messaging? #yesplease

 

for social media

  • snapchat
  • twitter
  • instagram

 

for travel

  • stay.com – download city maps to use whilst you’re abroad {when you don’t have wifi}
  • airbnb – genius better-than-couchsurfing apartment renting

 

for media {not social}

  • netflix
  • youtube
  • imdb

 

for games 

  • splashy fish {i was too late on the flappy bird download frenzy}
  • farm heroes
  • heads up – THE BEST PARTY GAME EVER #thankyouellen

 

for fitness

  • 7 min workout – genius i tell you. thighs were hurting for days after one workout {mostly because i am totally and utterly unfit}
  • MyFitnessPal

i’m a bit of an app junkie. what are your favourites?

m.

 

 

 

day 23: five things i’ve learned that school didn’t teach me

2014

i know things have changed quite a bit since i finished school {it’s been 11 years already – so crazy}.

a lot has changed in that time. but also a lot hasn’t changed. here are 5 things school didn’t teach me {and perhaps it was because it was the school i went to…maybe things have changed now}:

  1. budgeting / saving: i got myself into so much debt while at university. thankfully everything is paid off {other than my student loan}. today i am much much better. but that is after a lot of wasted money and even time learning from mistake after mistake. whether it’s saving for a car, house or new handbag, knowing how to do it makes all the difference. {p.s. i’m still learning}.
  2. job hunting: this is so imperative. why oh why is this not taught in school? it’s not just the looking it’s the preparing, understanding and learning how to set yourself apart. i am even surprised it’s a mandatory class at university. because that’s basically what you have to do throughout the rest of your life.
  3. networking: i guess this links in with point number 2. but in all honestly i strongly believe the best way to get s job is through networking. very often it’s not what you know but of course who you know.
  4. dealing with failure: it’s different for everyone. but as a society we need to get better at that. there’s the whole argument of rewarding everyone in class vs. rewarding the most successful. if kids don’t learn how to deal with failure, and more importantly, how to learn from it. failures are good.
  5. positive thinking: this changes everything.

basically, major life lessons.

m.

day 22: the soapbox post

2014, Culture, Inspiration, July, Religion

**warning** soapbox post ahead…

ok. i was just going to talk about one thing. but then all these other pet peeves came to mind and well. i guess this is a good day to get them out.

right?

here are my 2 soapbox-type issues that have driven me near insane.

my skin colour / ethnicity does not determine who i am
growing up my parents never allowed my brother and i to use the typical british slang words. not that there is anything wrong with using them, my parents just preferred us to enunciate.  i was always surrounded by my sierra leonean friends and family but i also went to a predominantly caucasian school and church, where i spent a lot of my time. so yes my speech pattern was influenced by my upbringing and my surroundings.

but my goodness i became incredibly tired of hearing that i “wasn’t really black”, i was “a coconut”, “didn’t act black”, “you sound so white” or anything else people tried to tell me. as a child and as an adult.

seriously?

SERIOUSLY?

what does that even mean?

but let me just put it out there…my skin colour does not determine who i am or how i should act.

let me repeat it in case it was missed.

MY SKIN COLOUR DOES NOT DETERMINE WHO I AM OR HOW I SHOULD ACT.

there is so much more to this. and i will probably talk about this in more detail at a later date. but for now i leave you with this:

“to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ralph waldo emerson

on mormon dating and marriage
this can really drive me round the bend.

i mean really gets my goat.

i remember being 22 at a wedding of a girl who was 18 or 19 and getting married. someone at the wedding “joked” that once you hit 21 you were “put on the shelf”. then once you were passed 25 and still not married you were weird / there was something wrong with you etc. etc. there are people that generally only talk to me when it’s something to do with who i {or they} are dating.

what the?

please note that what i’m referring to is mormon culture and not the doctrine.

there is no age limit as to when a person is to get married. if you follow the simple: right place, right time, right person…i honestly don’t think you can go wrong. it is easier said than done for some people. and that’s ok too. it has to be right. for both parties involved.

and even after it is right, it still takes work.

i’m no marriage expert but that’s what  i hear.

so dearest mormons. let’s just stop.

let’s stop judging each other on whether we are married by 18 or 35. we don’t know what God has planned for that person. that is between God and them.

let’s stop worrying about it too. it’s depressing.

don’t get me wrong. i’m not saying we should stop actively seeking {but honestly though the seeking part can get rather tiresome / lonely / annoying and every other negative implication that comes with the single life and dating}.

i’m saying we should still live our lives to the fullest while we’re at it.

go travelling, develop a hobby or talent, surround yourself with positive good people.

share your time. share you. invest in people. make your life full.

guess what? you have the ability to do that.

m.