words to live by

2015, December, Inspiration

If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.
William J. Clinton

Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments…Our divine nature comes from God.
Rosemary M. Wixom

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Walt Disney

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Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.”
Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

It’s humbling to start fresh. It takes a lot of courage. But it can be reinvigorating. You just have to put your ego on a shelf & tell it to be quiet.
Jennifer Ritchie Payette

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
C. S. Lewis

Here then is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong.
James E. Faust

 

thanksgiving + pizza

2015, December, Family and Friends, Food, Inspiration

it’s been a week since thanksgiving and i have spent much of this past week remembering the many {many} reasons i have to be thankful. as much as i am always working towards something {aren’t we all}, taking time to be grateful for what i already have is as vital for my health as the air i breath.

a special shout out to my mother who has spent so much of herself {physically, emotionally, spiritually} investing in my brother and me. i couldn’t have asked for a better example of what it takes to be a mother.

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the housemates and i wanted to do something to celebrate the day of giving thanks, so my housemate jo came up with the genius idea of thanksgiving pizza.

i.e. putting thanksgiving ingredients on top of a pizza.

hello.

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turkey

bacon

stuffing

cranberry sauce

corn

gravy. GRAVY PEOPLE.

greens

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sides included macaroni cheese, our own take on sweet potato pie, mouth-watering garlic and mozzarella stuffed mushrooms <—— i would eat all day everyday.

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it was so simple and so good.

hope you all enjoyed your thanksgiving celebrations.

next up – CHRISTMAS!!

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life lately according to my iphone + canon 100d

2015, Family and Friends, Food, Inspiration, November

i think i spent much of october baking. from macarons to rainbow birthday cakes… i can’t tell you the amount of eggs/flour/butter i got through!

the bf’s brother and sister turned 18 and 30 {respectively}. with those being milestone birthdays i thought what better way to celebrate than with special birthday cakes?!

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for anna i found a yummy recipe for classic a victoria from the bbc good food gods {check it out here}. you can’t really go wrong with this classic sponge goodness but i needed to give it a bit of a **booom i just turned 30** look. so of course that only means buttercream icing with kit kats and maltesers!

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i strongly believe that this is how you go from “yum” to “get in my belly”.

now, turning 18 is a big deal. so for tobi i wanted to make something a bit more fun. something that screamed **freedom!!! now give me sugar**

if you’ve been following my blog for a while you know i made a rainbow cake for my bff ema back in 2014 here.

now i needed a rainbow cake with a 18 year old twist. hail skittles and more buttercream icing…

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another few months of baking and i just might be great british bake-off good.

ha let’s get real. i wish.

this past summer i invested in a good, what i would call ‘starter’, digital slr camera. after much, much, deliberation and discussions with fellow photography friends i opted for the canon 100d alongside a 50mm lens. i had fallen in love with portrait style photography about 5 years ago and only about 3 weeks ago did i manage to try it out for the first time {with my colleague from work too – she was a great sport!}.

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honestly. this experience made me so happy. i think i found a new favourite hobby.

back to cakes…

earlier in november at work,  our lovely marketing intern turned 21.

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so of course birthday cake.

 

because she has celiac disease i scoured the world wide web for a good gluten free victoria sponge recipe {i’m a bit obsessed} and i found this one. and while it was probably one of the most delicious recipes i’ve tried {seriously delicious}. it crumbled. to pieces. twice.

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**insert violins and tears**

in the end i opted for a gluten free rice krispie chocolate treat/rocky road concoction. thank goodness for friends, pinterest and 24hour shopping at tesco.

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IF YOU KNOW OF A GOOD CRUMBLE FREE GLUTEN FREE SPONGE RECIPE – HOLLA AT YA GIRL. like really. i needed caps to emphasise the seriousness. if you couldn’t already tell.

this quote had me feeling some type-a-way

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never be afraid to fail right? if you don’t ask/try, it will always be a no.

happy thursday. pssst it’s nearly christmas.

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day 4 | 15 things that cheer me up when i’m down

2015, Inspiration, July

just last week i was feeling incredibly angry. for 4 whole days. and i had no idea why.

then a couple of days ago, that thing that comes every month to say “hey you’re not pregnant” reminded me. but goodness gracious it’s been a while since my hormones came and slapped me in the face like that. so much so i wanted to high five (in the face, with a chair) everyone else just so they could get a glimpse into what i was feeling.

it was weird.

there are a few things i do when i’m feeling like that though…

1. listen to music : of the ‘cheer up my soul’ kind and ‘wonder’ by emeli sande is my go to song

2. buy fresh flowers for yourself : i try to buy myself a bouquet of flowers every week. it was the line from my favourite quote/poem “Comes the Dawn” that i decided it needed to be done:
“…After a while you learn.
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers…”

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3. talk to a friend : i do this when i’m particularly feeling down. i consider myself lucky to have friends who will moan with me, or just listen. and i do this by phone or in person. it’s the best way.

4. work on a hobby : mine right now is photography. i’ve been thinking about it for years but only recently purchased my first dslr camera (my previous one was a bridge camera). with a 50mm lense too and my oh my. it is thrilling learning what my canon 100d (ok it’s a starter camera) with the 50mm lens.

5. food. GLORIOUS FOOD : i treat myself to something i don’t have on a regualr basis (which is a lie because the way the last 6 months have been i’ve ‘treated’ myself regularly). recently it was a delicious strawberry/snickers/flake milkshake from shakeaway #getinmybelly

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6. go out and explore : if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know i like to travel. but this year i wanted to explore more. whether it’s neighbourhood, a rustic city or a tropical island the idea is to GET OUT and explore.

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7. reading : this is a form of escapism for me. i find that getting lost in a book helps distract me from the stresses or sadness i’m feeling. and i often feel better afterwards.

8. prayer and meditation : i am christian so i try to turn to prayer a lot to express my deepest thoughts and questions. mediation. that stillness is divine. i’m still learning to do this but the need for it is very human. check out what arianna huffington had to say about the importance of meditation here.

9. exercise : i hate it and love it at the same time. whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga or a hard core work out i always feel better. every. damn. time.

10.  give a hug. a really good one : i’m talking about the linger longer kinda hug. .

11.  laugh and laugh some more : laughter is good for the soul. i strongly believe that. and i believe it acts as an incredible healing balm.

Laughter is an instant vacation.
Milton Berle

12. stay away from the internet : these days there is so much noise online that it’s hard to stay focused. or to not compare our ‘behind the scenes’ with someone else’s ‘highlight reel’. the internet has allowed for many things to be easier, like staying in touch, expressing thoughts and feelings and sharing. lots and lots of sharing. but gah. there are moments when turning it all off is the best thing i can do for myself.

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13.  writing in my journal : i used to be very good at this and wrote something down everyday. but for now, when i do write, as with number 3 where talking to a friend helps a great deal, writing what i’m feeling helps to ease the burden. i always come away feeling lighter.

14. candles : there’s something about the aroma of candles that lifts my spirits.

15. tidy up : i live in a shared house and when my room is a mess my thoughts tend to be too. spending 15 – 30 mins to tidy ‘clears’ my mind.

and there you have. 15 things that cheer me up when i’m down. every time.

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day 3 | my top five travel tips

Inspiration, July, Travel

travel tips

1. meet local people

the one thing i have learnt with my travel experiencing (granted this isn’t of the backpacking kind) is to meet the locals. booking via a couch-surfing type site like 9flats.com or airbnb.com you’ll certainly be able to. basic english is spoken in most countries so you can find a way to begin the dialogue. you can learn the best places to go (that won’t rip you off) and where to avoid.

2. wake up early

i believe in this whether you are going on a city break or beach holiday. even though i am not a morning person, getting up early can allow you to get in early on some tourist attractions and enjoy a sun lounger in a little peace. it can be a magical time for photos too!

3. take lots of photos

who cares if you look like a tourist? you are one! some places you might only get to visit once in your life time (gosh the thought of that just made me very sad). photos are priceless; easily shareable, do not cost you a penny and with the digital world these days, can last a life time.

4. eat local food

just as important as meeting the locals is eating like a local. to be honest, in my experience this is where i have found the best (and often cheaper) food. dig in, and taste a bit of everything.

5. break out of your comfort zone / slow down

i put these two together because i feel they connect. do not be afraid of trying something different. slow down to embrace and enjoy every. single. damn. moment. soak it up. drink it up. and don’t plan too much. it almost ruins the adventure.

wonderlust. it’s a beautiful thing.

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day 2 | five favourite youtubers

2015, Blogging, Culture, Inspiration, July

shirley b eniang

shirley is probably my favourite and my go to for make-up and hair tips. she’s got a clean and fresh look. she also inspired my white-on-white obsession (when it comes room décor). she’s got such a great energy and can i add that she’s also gorgeous? #girlcrush right there.

patricia bright

patricia is right up there with shirley. i just love her positive attitude to life! her and her husband are an adorable couple too #relationshipgoals

sonna rele

her voice tho. i stumbled on sonna last year and have been keeping up with her music monday posts. i love watching her journey and look forward to seeing what the future hold for her.

soul pancake

i’ve talked about soul pancake a couple of times. one of the best things on the internet. sight alongside humans of new york, soul pancake brings a sense of peace, love and all things good back to humanity.  i’m not a cat person…but kittens. oh my lanta.

how it should have ended

because we all need to have alternative endings to movies. literally.

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the seduction of inadequacy | body image

2015, Healthy Living, Inspiration, June

i’ve had this post saved in my drafts for some time. 7 months to be precise.

seduction of inadequacy

partly because i was waiting for the right time. when all i want to say was coherent enough.

and more than coherent, eloquent enough.

i want to be able adequately express how i feel about this, without sounding soap-boxish.

but let’s just be honest here. i’m gonna have to get my soap box out.

for as long as i can remember i have had major body image insecurities. and more so in my 20’s than i did when i was a teenager. i’ll come to the reason for this later.

we are bombarded… well… pummelled with:

get beach body ready. lose 10lbs in 2 weeks! fat burning pills. “insert abs here”. how to look good naked. drop 2 sizes in 2 weeks. bikini ready in 7 days!

my favourite blogger {and i don’t say favourite lightly} megfee had this to say about that whole “get beach body ready” thing:

So when some advertiser asks me, Are you beach body ready? I want to look them square in the eye and say, yeah, I got lungs and arms and legs that’ll kick, so how dare you try to tell me that my golden-ticket to the beach is how good I look in a bikini. My body–how it looks–is not not for you… So kindly BACK. OFF.

sigh. she writes stuff that stirs my soul. so much so it moved me to finish this post. read the rest of her post titled ‘changing the conversation’ here. SUCH a delicious read. and i might reference that post again later.

i recently saw this one: “run yourself to slim + happy”

wait. so being slim will make me happy?

here are some stats for you {these are uk stats but i am positive run throughout the western world}:

  • 60% of adults report feeling ashamed of the way they look (Centre for Appearance Research 2012)
  • 70% of adult women and 40% of adult men report that they have felt pressure from television and magazines to have a perfect body (Centre for Appearance Research 2012)
  • 34% of adolescent boys and 49% of girls have been on a diet to change their body shape or to lose weight (Centre for Appearance Research & Central YMCA 2011)
  • It is estimated that roughly two thirds of adults suffer from negative body image (All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image Report, 2012)
  • 42% of girls and young women feel that the most negative part about being a female is the pressure to look attractive (Girl Guiding UK, Girls Attitude Survey 2010)

are you surprised?

megfee goes on to say:

So to eliminate fat-talk is to actually change the way in which we experience our bodies in the world…yup, that slow-moving-realization, that’s the rumblings of a revolution, my friends.

It’s important to move our bodies. It’s important to do really difficult things. It improves brain elasticity and builds bone density. But to go to to a circuit class and lift heavy weights and crunch until I’m barely breathing all while the instructors tells me to keep going because on the other side of the pain is a pair of skinny jeans, one size smaller…well that is too flimsy a reason.

And frankly, insulting.

My body is doing really difficult things and you’re going to berate it for not being smaller?

and what do i mean by the seduction of inadequacy? well first off the phrase isn’t mine {even though i wish it was}. it was said by the beautiful lupita nyong’o. in a speech given at the essence magazine 7th annual black women in hollywood event. and while she primarily talked about the different ‘shades’ of beauty {for that is a whole other conversation}, it rings true to each of us.

frankly, inadequacy in seductive. and that is what the media feeds on.

i wrote earlier that body image has affected me more in my twenties than it did when i was a teenager. in truth it is because i have gained weight in my twenties {i’m going to throw it out there and say that that is normal?}, but also with the rise of social media and the poisonous tentacles of the media as a whole, i am even more aware of how far from that ‘perfection’ i am.

these days people who haven’t seen me in a few years tell me how much weight i have gained. because that’s exactly how you greet someone. 

i have always have been, and continue to be, told how ‘thick’ or big i am. or how i’ve ‘got body’ as they say in my culture.

enough with it.

so with megfee i stand, let’s change the conversation. let’s stop the fat-talk and weight shaming {can i add that i despise that????}. let’s not talk about how guilty we feel if we have a biscuit or 5 in the office. instead let’s celebrate the fact that we have food in abundance. let’s discuss being healthy no matter how we are built. let’s talk about the gift that is our bodies and how as women we {mostly} have the ability to grow another human inside of it.

because if you’re able to walk or use your arms or both, if you are a breathing human being, then you are beach body ready.

ok i’ll put my soap box away now.

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life lately | a mash up

2015, April, Culture, Family and Friends, Healthy Living, Inspiration

// i’ve moved house.

and it’s wonderful.

here was my view from my room to the garden last saturday. it’s not all green yet but spring is dancing it’s way into our lives, so soon it will be.

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and i made a little sanctuary #purebliss

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i’m also addicted to white #allwhiteeverything

// change does the soul some good #evenwhenidontwantit
“just when i think i have learned the way to live, life changes.”| hugh prather

// some weeks ago i spent a weekend in london with my bestie alison. it was a fabulous and chill weekend of sightseeing and gluttony. and i’d do it all over again. this red rover boat cruise of the thames is highly recommended. as is going to greenwich market in east london.

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here’s to more exploring.

// while i think i’ve discovered i might be diary and wheat intolerant {major booo}, i discovered some fun alternatives…like courgette {zucchini} pasta. and lemon + kiwi + lemon + mint leaf water —-> and while that technically isn’t an alternative it is SO REFRESHING.

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// my first #wcw was dedicated to gabrielle union

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she’s 42 people. 42 YEARS OLD. i don’t know what she’s been drinking but i need some.

// my friend jo is in new zealand right now and sent me this pic last week. she was sat on this beach. with a cuppa. looking at the stars as the sun set. where was i?

in the office.

i still need to travel more.

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// i was in a car accident in february {insert sad face} but thankfully, apart from a bit of whip lash and back pain, i’m ok.

my car is now fixed — i’m just going to get hurt by my insurance premium next year.

i’d only had it for 4 weeks {cue violins}.

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// on a happy note my 3 meals, 3 countries, 3 days trip is all booked #london #paris #brussels — more on that #comingsoon

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words to live by

2015, Inspiration, March

“It is better to grope in the dark and wade through a million errors to reach the truth than to entrust oneself to someone who knows not that he knows not. Has a man ever learnt swimming by tying a stone to his neck? So let me go my own way even if it is the wrong one.”
Sudhir Kakar, The Seeker: A Novel

“We must embrace the darkness as well as the light in order to truly understand life.”
Andrew Fairchild

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Aristotle

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Napoleon Hill

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

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“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. ”
Vincent Van Gogh

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”
Erma Bombeck

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