Long time, no see.

Hey there. Guess what, I am finally back from a few months of silence.

As you all know, in November last year, I moved to little old New Zealand and have been rather busy with settling into my new life. So, after that eerie period, I’m dusting away those cobwebs to write this piece.

It’s funny how you very quickly settle into a space you know so well. I grew up in New Zealand, in my small town aside the ocean, and to be reunited with it after 4 years came easier than expected. Before I left London, I always got the “it’ll hit you after a while, you’ll miss the hustle of London.” – well, I’m here to tell you, I don’t.

And honestly, I don’t miss it at all. I thought I would; miss the traffic, the busyness, the cafe ridden streets, the atmosphere, but I simply don’t. However, the one thing I do long for, is hangouts with my cosmopolitain friends; the work pals; I met some of the best people in the world in London; I just don’t long for the place itself.

This did come as a surprise to me. I expected myself to struggle with small town living at least for a little while, to regret ‘giving up’ (for better the word) London for a simpler way of life, but I’ve come to realise that New Zealand kinda suits me. I thrive on exercise, and fresh air, and devour outdoor spaces. I’ve caught up with old friends, explored new places, rediscovered my love for cooking and creativity, joined a band; the open space of New Zealand, has allowed me to fill it with more fulfilling activities. There’s something special about this country, and I cannot wait for my London-made friends to come and visit me, so I can show them too.

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It definitely takes leaving a place, to find the appreciation.

It’s cheesy, and the same sentence has probably been said in a million different ways, but it’s true. I left thinking I was too big for the small life, that New Zealand was boring and not good enough for the life I thought I desired. In reality I just didn’t know how to live yet.

I went to London and it was there I learnt how to live. I discovered myself through trials, tribulations, tears and smiles. And that person, this person I became, ended up craving a bigger space to breathe and grow. London suffocated me. It’s definitely a big city, but it’s also hugely populated. I listened to my body, and it was telling me I needed to move on – it’s funny how perfectly, gloriously, accurate your gut instincts can be. Researchers are discovering that microbes in our gut can send messages and important brain chemicals to our brain, affecting how we think, feel, and remember. Well, my theory is that so do your lungs. Breathe the air you should breathe, and you exhale happiness.

I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I just know that New Zealand air is my kind of air. I encourage you to find yours.

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Why, As A Writer, I’m Taking A Break From Books

I’m taking a break from books. (Or so I’m going to try.)

On average I read 4-5 books a month. That’s a lot of words to compare to my own, and I’ve decided that I ought to stop complaining I don’t write enough when I spend so much of my time reading.

I used to bring books to accompany time and space, my bag overflowing with one too many books. But now I’m starting to see that books are different to my own creativity. They are there, they are permanently in print, they create noise in my head. They are the expectation – I have to be as good as these to be published; to be read. I have fallen so far into admiring others I have started to doubt my own use of words. I’ve always known I can write as they do, its only lately I’ve started to realise I just haven’t been giving it enough time. I must live and breathe my own creations. Picasso didn’t look at paintings trying to figure out how they did it, he picked up a paintbrush and made strokes that felt right. I want to write because of the infinite possibilities a keyboard presents when I open my MacBook. After all, for every word I read, I could be conjuring one for myself.

As I’ve grown in London, I’ve observed that London is a city of expectation. Expectation through external stimuli, through noise, even something as small as facial expressions. As a young, aspiring writer this has proven to be hard…. I’m sure as any young person, trying to make it in this city, it’s hard.

Through time, I’ve discovered my laptop provides a silence that nothing else can. I can sit in the most noisy of cafes and hear nothing. When I am sitting in front of a screen I can achieve anything, write anything. Literal infinite possibilities the alphabet provides. With my laptop in hand, I can go anywhere in London; Anywhere, and it will always lack expectation.

I love books so much, but I love my completed projects more; my stack of poems, my nearly finished novel, my website and articles full of poetic monologue.

So here I start, indefinite days without reading any word of another. My to-read pile will just have to wait.

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Fake It Till You Make It | The Self Series

Have you ever had a day when you’ve been moody, and someone has said “fake it till you make it”..?

I was thinking about this the other day, and not because someone said it to me, but because it has been so drilled into my head that I’ve started saying it to myself. So here it is, the latest instalment in The Self Series – all my tips for faking it till you make it.

Blast the happy tunes 

This is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down, but studies have shown that your mood is likely to improve if you actively try and feel happy whilst listening to upbeat tunes. So, next time you’re feeling down,  put on something slightly upbeat, light some candles, flick on some fairy lights and make an effort to make it a vibrant space. Before you know it, you’ll at least be tapping your toes.

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Dress for the mood you wish to be in

How we present ourselves plays a big part in how we are perceived – not only by others, but through our own eyes. For example, if you wake up and you’re in a mood of ‘I just can’t be bothered today’, by putting no effort into your appearance, you will only feel worse about yourself. So, when you have days like this, try and make a point of showering, putting on your favourite items of clothes, and doing something with your day. You don’t have to go to-the-nines, but at the very least wander out and grab a coffee.

Use your clothes as your voice of energy, instead of actually trying to act all energetic. It’ll do your mood wonders.

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Pose it up

My main man, Aristotle, had an idea that has stuck with me since I studied him in uni:

To be virtuous, one must act as a virtuous person would act.

So, to be a confident happy person, surely we must act how a confident happy person would act – right? So, next time you feel like crawling into a little ball of self-pity, strike a pose in which you deem as confidence and competence, and your physical might just alter your mental.

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Remember we are the only thing that stands in the way of our mood improving. So, next time you’re having a substandard day, or you’re struck into a bad mood, try one of my three top tips for faking it (till you make it). And don’t worry, I’m still trying to perfect the art.

Stay confident, stay happy.

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Stick To The Status Quo? | The Self Series

Welcome to Episode 5 in The Self Series. This is the series where I give some thought to common said quotes in today’s society. This time it’s all about the status quo.

What is the status quo?

Status quo is a Latin word literally meaning ‘the state in which’. In today’s society, the label status quo is typically used to generalise what is deemed ‘normal’ in society.

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I have a discussion for us today based around my personal take on the saying “Stick to the status quo” – and before you ask, yes, I was a huge High School Musical fan as a kid.

So, what is my take? I see the status quo as more of a comfort zone; sticking to the status quo being the attitude of playing it safe rather than only societal norms. If we talk about the status quo in this way, this would be our own choice – right? We individually decide whether or not to stay comfortable.  If you ask me, life is all about taking risks and encouraging ourselves to get out there and make the most of things. Life is also about encouraging everybody around us to do the same.

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Quite often when it comes to something new, our bodies inject our minds with a little thing called fear. We can’t blame our bodies for this feeling, because ultimately it’s a survival instinct, but sometimes we mistake worry for fear; we escalate the anxiousness of failure to a level of fear that makes things seem impossible. Well, I’m here to tell you to feel the fear and do it anyway. This seems to be an overall theme in my blogs, but hear me out once again. If I asked you to join me on a skydiving quest tomorrow, what would you say? I know your body would probably start to feel a little more tense, and some part of your insides would do a little dive to the pit of your stomach, but after putting that aside what would YOU say??

I’d hope you’d say yes. After all, experiences such as this aren’t an everyday thing. I’m sure your first instinct would be to say no. Our bodies weren’t designed to fall from the sky, 15,000km above the earths tectonic plates, at speeds unknown to the raw human body – but hey? What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, ideally it’s probably not best to ponder this thought right before you jump – but seriously, you’d never do anything if you didn’t live with risk.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers

I have in fact jumped from a plane. When I was about 16, one of my brothers and I joked about skydiving on a family holiday. Emphasis on the word joke. The next morning, as we were in our holiday cabin comfortable in our bunk beds, my parents came in with an aura of adrenaline and asked us, “How about it? Want to skydive today?”. I can tell you now, I still remember that feeling of absolute terror and how quickly my stomach clenched. It had only been a thought, something to laugh about, yet now it was so close to becoming reality. Eventually after our parents encouragement, me and my older brother committed to jump from a plane.

It was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. It was also one of the most terrifying and fear-filled adventures I’ve taken part in.

When I find myself filled with fear; from accepting a new job role, to travelling abroad solo, I tell myself what’s the worst that can happen? I tell myself to feel the fear, and do it anyway because you only live once. More often than not, after we take these risks, we feel a sense of relief and accomplishment.

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We’ve discussed taking risks, and now I want to bring us directly back to the status quo and the idea of self-expression. I was doing some research for this article, and I came across this quote from none other than Dr Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

As a child, I loved the books of Dr Seuss because they were so different to anything else I read. I loved the unique illustrations, the crazy storylines and the characters being so different to anything I knew in real life.

This quote from Dr Seuss is the definition of a perfect life. We can’t conform to the ideals of society; we can’t live our lives in response to someone else’s standards. If someone dislikes us for who we uniquely are, do they really matter? Should we really let their idea of a ‘right’ life distinguish how we live ours? NO! And if someone lives a true, self-actualized and self-empowered life, they’re not going to mind how we live ours. Be unique, and only live for yourself.

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When someone says things such as stick to the status quo to me, I can’t help but think it over. Remember: that feeling – after conquering a fear or something with an uncertain outcome – is what we should all live for. Be who you are, be true to your thoughts and your feelings.

Don’t believe the status quo to be anything other than encouragement to be different and adventurous.

There’s A Time And A Place | The Self Series

Hello, and welcome back to The Self Series. This is going to be where I inject advice from my journey to self-assurance into my blog; a space where I respond to requests, or events in my life, with a moment of reflection.

Today, I’m gonna discuss the saying “there’s a time and a place”. According to some, this is something you say when someone is behaving in a way which is not deemed suitable for the circumstance. In my opinion this seems to be a rather negative take on what could be an extremely positive mantra. I’m gonna give you my three positive takes on this quote:

No. 1

“Certain projects find you at the right time.” – Pierce Brosnan

Ever heard of a thing called fate? Yeah, well I believe in it… to a certain extent. I believe everything works out in the end. I always have, it’s something my parents taught me; read my earliest blogs, I can’t shut up about it apparently.

So, take number one? Being in the right place at the right time. Understand that if something you’ve been striving for hasn’t happened yet, it will happen when the success stars align. The worst thing creative striving souls do is give up when the going gets tough. If you really want something, keep at it and it will happen when its supposed to. Sounds like I’m talking crap, but I speak from experience, and I speak from the hope of success I have for myself.

No. 2

“Eliminate anyone who stifles your creativity by being hostile, mean, or rude – either to your face or behind your back.” – Rachel Wolchin

This is where I tell you to retaliate. I’m not exactly going back on my previous blog in The Self Series (if you haven’t read it already, I highly suggest you do, click here) but I am saying this: there is a time and a place to take no shit. Rachel has it right – eliminate anyone who does wrong by you and/or your passions. In that blog, we discussed responding with a mature and reserved manner, but now is when I tell you its okay to raise your voice. However do not bring another person down, use your voice to open people’s closed eyes and minds.

No. 3

“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” – Willie Nelson.

Cue giggles in front of computer screens, or gasps of horror. Either way, Willie Nelson has the right idea. When I see the words there is a time and a place, I find myself reminded of patience. Sometimes we feel self-entitled – whether it be to a promotion or to be at the front of the queue in the supermarket – and self-entitlement is a very bad quality. Yes, we may work hard and be entitled of a victory, but don’t abuse your ego. Let others shine, and you too will get your moment. If you’re patient, whilst not losing confidence in your own passion and hard work, you will get your cheese.

All it takes is a few minutes of your day to wind-down the mind. I hope The Self Series will be your space to reflect as much as mine, and that you have gained something to consider from this blog. I ask you all to comment your take down below, and I will see you next time!

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Kill ’em With Kindness | The Self Series

It’s recently come to my attention that I’m quite sassy.

I’m not always writing, cause I’d never get my bills paid – so, like a lot of creative souls, I do work in customer service. When you work in hospitality you do encounter rude people, and as the feminist and stubborn woman that I am,  I dislike being disrespected immensely. I’ve never been overly mouthy or rude, but I do get a sass on my shoulders and have slammed a few pints down in my time. As any fed up person would.

Lately I’ve been taking to a new way of dealing with these sort of people. Instead of ruining my day or mixing the situation with sass, I’ve been attempting at over the top kindness and coming out the bigger person. So here they are, a few tips and quotes on how to:

“Kill ’em with kindness”

Call ’em out

Sometimes people don’t realise they’re being rude. We’ve all done it; had a bad day, and taken our anger out on someone with our tone of voice, or impatient frustration. You get the nudge from your friend standing next to you at the coffee shop counter, and realise you’ve just sassed the poor girl who is only doing her job.

I have on certain occasions, told customers to just change their tone with me. They will either a) Quickly realise and apologise or, b) Continue to be rude, at which point I highly suggest you walk away. Wherever you work, it’s not in your contract to be personally disrespected. So leave it be. I encourage complete positivity in my personal life, so why is it only now that I’m realising I should be accepting only positivity and respect at work too?

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Pass it off and don’t fight back

There are certain times that people are so stuck in their ways, that they won’t even hear what you have to say. When this happens, when they ignore you, respond with kind enthusiasm. Keep your head high, say what you have to say, and as they make snide remarks, pass them off. Do your job, calmly and professionally, and then ride your high horse into the sunset. The worst thing you can do is let someone’s rudeness or bad day, turn yours into one too. Don’t stand in the presence of negativity, and definitely don’t let it stick around.

“Treat everyone with politeness – even those who are rude to you. For remember that you show courtesy to others not because they are gentlemen, but because you are one.” – Charles Dickens.

Killing a situation with kindness, is a form of strength. Think of how weak it is to throw insults; how much easier it is for some people to be mean, than to explain or talk like a civilised adult.  So by being polite, you remain the mature, self-controlled person you are, and remain with purpose and strength.

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart

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ASPIRE TO INSPIRE OTHERS TO BE KIND

“I Never Asked You.” (A Blog On Opinion)

Have you ever received an unwanted comment?

 “Your hair looks weird today”, “I don’t think that top fits you right”, “Why are you so grumpy today?”… did I ask for your opinion? No, I don’t recall asking you, thank you very much.

So, here it is, a blog on the idea of an opinion.

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So what is in an opinion?

By definition an opinion is a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Thank you, Google. Let’s summarise; an opinion is a singular view not based on fact. So, if these statements are not based on fact, do they really matter? Are they worth saying? And, should we leave our ears open for these comments? There is a quote from Ginni Rometty which perfectly sums up my opinion (great choice of word, huh?) on the topic of opinion.

“I ask everyone’s opinion when they don’t speak up. And then when they have an opinion, I’ll ask others to talk about it.”  

People who reserve judgment usually have more thought-out, and perfected perceptions. If someone is constantly pitching in their opinion, are they seeking attention, or are they arrogant in their ways. I want to make a point there is a different between arrogant opinion, and confident opinion. Remember that your opinion will more often than not, be rejected by the person you are passing it to, unless you speak at the perfect time.

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So what would arrogant opinion be? Say someone is having a chat about religion – you have every right to pitch in, but will it add to the conversation if you are disagreeing? If you say Buddhism is a hoax, and the conversing person is a sole-believer, should you really tell them they’re wrong? Not really. Certain opinions – especially those disregarding a person’s way of life – should not be shared. Keep it to yourself.

Confident opinion is very near the same but with an element of respect. With confident opinion, we wisely choose our timing and our topics to place judgement upon. When we are confident in our views, we don’t need them to be heard. We find satisfaction in not agreeing without saying so out loud.

“Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception–do not confuse them with “facts” or “truth”. Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint.” – John Moore

As much as I write about this topic, nothing is going to stop people from commenting on other’s lives whether asked or not. So, if you receive unwanted comments from someone – whether it be about your attire, something you’ve said, or something completely irrelevant – let it go, and tell yourself: Everyone is entitled to an opinion. 

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I’m sure a few of you reading this are probably thinking something along the lines of “What if someone has to hear it?” – that your wise words will help them in some way? I see where you’re coming from. I still stand by the ideology that people live individual lives, and along with this, comes figuring things out for yourself. Look back at that quote from our lady, Ginni. If someone wants your opinion, they will ask. Same for you, if you want a external view on an internal situation, you’ll ask.

Please feel free to comment down below. I would like to ask you for your opinions on opinion, and also ask why you think what you do.