Trying To Find My Space

It’s 00:34 and I can’t sleep. Maybe I owe it to the two coffees I’ve had since 6pm, or maybe it’s the fact my mind is whizzing around within itself and no matter how many Netflix episodes I watch, it won’t stop.

361 days. That’s how long I’ve been in New Zealand. It’s now November, and that is terrifying to me, ’cause I swear I just blinked and this entire last year  disappeared. I had a list of goals, or resolutions for my return home, and in actual fact all I’ve done over the last 12 months is chase my own tail in hopes of finding my space. Finding where I belong in this little country, and figuring out how I actually want to live my life here.

In London, I was a reader; I was a writer; I was an adventurer. Even after three and half years of living in the Big Smoke, I made a point of making most of my days off. I would adventure into a new museum, seek out a cafe to read a book in, go for wanders and explore. Over the last 361 days, I have not finished a single book, I’ve barely written a blog worth reading, and I have not adventured out of my town as many times as I would have expected or liked to. And, to be quite frank, it’s uninspiring. I feel like I am either:

a) Finding it difficult to find my true self now I have the openness of New Zealand.

OR

b) I’m losing who I really am because I am no longer in London.

A rock and a hard place type situation if you ask me, sounds dramatic but it’s a hard thing to process. And this last year has been a process.  I’ve been trying to figure out why it’s been so hard, I thought coming home would solve everything; back to the comforts, back to the people who have known me the longest – oh how I was wrong. In reality, London was my comfort zone because I had space. I’m a thinker, I “deal with”( or try to) in an emotional way, and in London – where I was one in eight million odd – I had that space to expel my thoughts outwards. Into the busyness, and the faces that walked past. Yes, this busyness fell somewhere into my reasons for leaving, but the ability to disappear into a crowd I took for granted.

Now that I am home, I am one in 40,000. I am back to being in a family. I am back to having fewer friends, and back to feeling like my life is under a microscope. People are more interested in my life here, in London the people in my life had their own ventures and desires to consume their days with. And that interest, that love and curiosity, is so new to me. I’m used to being on my own, and having to protect and serve myself. It seems silly when I write it aloud, but I struggle with the constant interest in my life almost as much as I did the feeling of lack of support which lead me to move here in the first place. I feel like the opinions and thoughts of others are louder than my own thoughts, and I feel confused by the lack of direction in my own mind.

So, really, what has happened over the last year?

I suppose I have grown. And I’ve learnt new things. I’ve played trial and error on my employment and living situations, and I suppose both are better than they were November last year. I’ve met new people, and rekindled old friendships. My life here may not be the fantasy and dream I imagined it would be, but when is anything what’s advertised. I need to trust in the fact my life is happening as it should be. It may not be fast-paced, excitable nor productive, but it’s a start. It’s been a year of settling-in. And, maybe, this next year will be even more settling-in. I need to keep reminding myself that that’s okay.

One year. I guess I live in New Zealand now.

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.

3 Easy Veggies For The Wannabe Vegan

Hey there, and welcome to this fine Tuesday lunchtime!

Today’s blog is all about helping out those wannabe vegans, or hungry people, that are craving some veggie goodness. As a new vegan I know how difficult it is to feel committed, when you’re constantly trying to be one of those creative vegans that you see on Instagram. In reality going vegan, or eating plant-based, is simple, affordable and does not have to be complicated. I have been delving in the vegan lifestyle for almost two years, so I can tell you that once you find a base for all your meals, it becomes a lot easier.

So, this is what today’s blog is all bout. My three go-to vegetables, and how I cook them. I eat these vegetables either individually, or all together, almost everyday.

Lets get cooking. 

You will need:

  • 1 Broccoli
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 500g mushrooms of your choice
  • Tamari Sauce
  • Black Pepper & [Pink Himalayan] Salt
  • Garlic Salt (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Hummus/Cashews/ toppings of choice

The Sweet Potato

Preheat your oven to 200*C. Put a steamer filled with an inch of water, on the stove top to boil.

Peel and wash one sweet potato, chopping into small pieces. 

On a tray, prepared with a 1Tbsp Olive Oil, season the sweet potato with black pepper, salt and garlic salt. Don’t be afraid to use your hands in this step, the more the seasoning covers the potato, the tastier it is!

Once this is done, pop it into the heating oven. Cook until soft and browned at the edges. If it goes black, they’re not burnt, it’s the natural sugars in the sweet potato caramelising.

The Mushrooms 

Preheat your pan on medium heat, with a 1tsp Olive Oil.

Wash your mushrooms under running water.

Chop into slices, and place into the now-heated pan.

Season with black pepper and salt.

Once it starts to brown, add 1 Tbsp of Tamari Sauce, and a dash of water.

Cook until the mushrooms have absorbed the sauce, and are soft and cooked.

The Broccoli

Wash your broccoli under running water.

Chop your broccoli into larger florets and place into your steamer. If you don’t have a steamer, place in a pot with a cm of boiling water.

This step is to only soften the broccoli so it’s barely cooked. It’ll go a slightly deeper green.

The Assemble

Use these veggies as bases for other meals, or combine for a filling and healthy lunch. They are whole foods, simply cooked, yet taste delicious. Top with cashews, or hummus, and enjoy!

THE HEALTH BENEFITS:

  • Sweet potatoes are naturally high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and manganese.
    • Manganese is good for healthy bones, sugar regulation, PMS symptoms.
  • Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fibre and potassium.
  • Mushrooms are definitely underrated; even though they’re bland in colour, they have many powerful antioxidants.
  • Mushrooms are an excellent source of fibre and protein, iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and selenium.
    • Selenium is a trace element which supports the immune system; detoxifies elements of the body which can cause ageing, cancers, etc.
      • Selenium is also found in Brazil nuts, you would only need to eat 2 Brazil nuts to get your daily dose of Selenium. With the added bonus of the Omega-3 fatty acid also found in the nut.
  • Broccoli is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate and fibre.
    • Vitamin K aids your body in calcium absorption.
  • Buying and eating any of these veggies grown in an Organic way increases flavour, and decreases your chances of consuming nasty pesticides sprayed on the vegetables to prolong shelf life.

Learning about the foods I put in my body is one way that has helped me go, and stay, vegan. Knowledge is powerful, but in my case knowledge is passion. Going vegan isn’t about being preachy, or trendy, it’s about realising how our bodies run better on whole foods from the earth.

There are many other ways I have stayed vegan; animal rights, environmental and economical. I’ll leave a list of my favourite vegan resources down below if you are thinking about making the change to a plant-based diet.

“Why am I vegan? Because I want my refrigerator to look like a garden… not a morgue.”

Happy eating! And don’t forget to drink that water, don’t even get me started on the health benefits of that.

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Documentaries, speeches & books I recommend:

‘The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear’ – performed by Gary Yourofsky

‘The China Study’ – written by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell

‘Forks Over Knives’ – a documentary

‘Food Choices’ – a documentary

‘Cowspiracy’ – a documentary

‘Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat’ – written by Glen Merzer and Howard Lyman

My Experience With Writer’s Block

Writer’s block was never something I gave much thought to.

I tossed the word around after a few days of less-than-desirable pen to paper action. However, it wasn’t until I realised that I was experiencing writer’s block for real – in it’s full force, a period of over a few weeks – that I gave the title some credit.

By definition, writer’s block is…

“the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.”

And in my reality, it was exactly that… and more. I was battling with a pensive sadness because I wasn’t writing. So, after being unable to write for weeks on end, I sat (and if I’m completely honest I sulked whilst doing so) and I thought about how I could figure this out; it wasn’t as if my passion for writing had just disappeared over night… right? In  an attempt to find the answer I listened to myself, and the energy around me, and the verdict was that every fibre of my being was crying out for me to show it something new.

So I did. And here I am, sitting in a café in Bath, Somerset.

The first day of my three days away, I sought out Bath Abbey because when I travel I enjoy historic elements – I’m a true tourist when I wanna be. But what I didn’t purposely seek out was the Square at the back of the gorgeous building. Within this square, a square surrounded by benches, was a man. He was centred and in solitude – only a guitar to keep him company. He was playing beautiful Spanish music and after my trip to Spain, where Spanish buskers brought joy to my ears every path I went down, I felt no choice but to sit and listen. I sat for two hours in the chilled sunshine, wearing my favourite sweater and a smile upon my face. What did I do while I listened? I observed those around me, and saw all the unique faces as potential characters and sentences.  And, as if the music went in my ears and broke down the writer’s block my brain, I exploded with ideas. It was as if I had had an epiphany. I whipped out my notebook with a dramatic flair – that belonged in a film – and I wrote. I wrote poems, a short story, and I had the biggest break – creatively speaking – for my book.

Finally.

After three weeks of not even adding a teeny tiny apostrophe to my book, I was now thinking too fast for my hand to keep up. And now, barely 48 hours after sitting in that square, I’m still writing. I’ve added 4 new chapters to my book and altered the narrative perspective of a quarter of what I’d already written. It has been a lot of work, but I’ve enjoyed every second. (Especially since I had an excellent excuse to seek out cute coffee shops and drink coffee for hours on end).

So, what was writer’s block for me? It was frustration, mood-swings and a sorrowness I couldn’t figure out; like being a passionate skater, and then waking up one day without a clue as to why you can’t stay on the board for more than a second.

And how did I diminish my writer’s block? I removed myself from the normal routine of my London life, to give my brain new faces to characterise and new places to think about. Every one of us will get our own form of writer’s block (for our select passions) if we don’t stimulate our minds. We need to get out more and work our brains.

My brain stopped giving me what I wanted, because I stopped giving it something to really think about.

I won’t do that again.

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Why We’re So Scared To Make Sacrifices And How To Take The Plunge

sacrifice (ˈsakrɪfʌɪs/) verb – to give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations

 Have you ever made a sacrifice? Why?

In 2015, as everyone knows, I moved to London; away from my family, and the life I knew, to selfishly start a new one. It wasn’t until last night, as I was walking across the Millennium Bridge in Central London – the skyline lit up for the evening – that the word sacrifice slipped into my mind. I had never thought of my move as such, but yet it is an entirely accurate word to describe the adventure.

I sacrificed security in the known, for the unknown. I sacrificed my safety and happiness, at the risk of finding it in a foreign place. So, what is this word – positive or negative? As much it may sound negative, I believe it to be both. You’re not going to get anywhere in life unless you’re willing to put yourself first. And yes, I sacrificed valuable time with my family to seek adventure. However, if you’re passionate enough, those of importance in your life with support you; they’ll make a sacrifice also.

With selfishness comes selflessness.

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Did you start 2018 with an intention of making dramatic change in your life? Have you put your idea into action by starting plans? If not, ask yourself why. Postponing change is nearly always down to either fear or fear of sacrifice.

Be the one to take that risk, offer up something in your life right now with the intention of only bettering your current situation! If you go all in, you’ll get everything you want out of it. I have moments of ‘Oh my goodness, this is my life’ all the time – because I made the choice to try and make it in London; I did it, and I am doing it.

I made the choice to try and make it in London; I did it, and I am doing it.

Yes I had to make sacrifices along the way – but everyone that I left behind are supportive of my decision, and everything else was worth sacrificing for the endless days of excitement, creative expression and happiness I now have. From 2015 until this very second, my excitement and passion for this city hasn’t faltered. And I don’t think it ever will.

It wasn’t until last night, that the word sacrifice slipped into my mind. It was in that moment that I realised everything good in life comes from moving onwards and upwards. And unfortunately if you try and take everything with you, your life will be too darn heavy to climb the mountains you so very want to conquer.

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A Moment To Reflect

Today I arrived back from a long weekend spent in Amsterdam, Holland. If you’d have told me this ten years ago, that at twenty-one I would be jet-setting around Europe on my days off, I would have possibly spat-laughed in your face.

I started writing this blog in the airport waiting for my return flight home yesterday. However, after the cheery announcement that my flight got cancelled, I slammed my laptop lid. This never happens to ME; I’m always hours too early for flights so as to not miss them, I weigh my luggage, I prepare my toiletries in a clear zip-lock bag, I’m patient in queues, and then this?

Me being me, I started searching my memory for reasons why my karma was deciding to kick me in the ass.

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I ran through the airport alongside my fellow stranded passengers, tears only held back by the red haze of frustration. I queued to get the whole “sorry for the inconvenience” relay from the compassionate help-desk clerk – which I didn’t blame because let’s be real we don’t wanna be that person that blames the messenger, do we? – and got the news I’d be flying out the next day. I wanted to cry. I got on the phone and spoke to the supportive best-friend, the parents, and it was decided that I just wasn’t looking at it positively. I almost always look at situations with an optimistic outlook – so, why not this?

I arrived at the airline organised hotel, pissed off I’d wasted half a day with the intention of going home, and then dropped down face first onto my queen bed with crisp white sheets. I had intended on screaming into the pillow, instead I surprised myself because I started laughing. After all I was being ridiculous; I didn’t have work the next day, the airline had provided full amenities – hotel, meals, an airport voucher, shuttles & a seat on the first flight out the next day – and I was here wasting my energy and mood on something that couldn’t be changed.

I had a hot shower, propped myself up on the 4 luxurious pillows, switched on the flat screen and started watching America’s Next Top Model with Dutch subtitles.  An extra night in Amsterdam couldn’t be all bad, what was I going to do with my evening at home anyway? PLUS, I had just spent a weekend in a stunningly beautiful city, because it’s only an hour away from my home in London – I need not be so petty over a postponed flight home.

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I always try to live by the motto that…

everything happens for a reason

…but yesterday I realised that I am still perfecting the recipe for the all-the-time positive person I aspire to be. I think my flight got cancelled for a reason. My life runs fairly smoothly, and I needed to be reminded by the Universe that life isn’t all picking fresh cherries; sometimes you get stuck with the last pack on the shelf at Tesco after craving them all day. I’m home, with the refreshed reminder that there is always something positive to come from what may appear as a misfortune – if you’re willing to figure it out.

Psst, make cherry jam.

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Friends in the city & saying goodbye

There’s something so unique about living in a city like this one. London is huge, it’s a place where people from all over the world interconnect and flourish. I’ve been in London for almost 3 years and whilst being here, I’ve made many friends and have had to say goodbye to almost all of them.

I wanted to write a blog about this. Making friends in a city and saying goodbye. I do often ask myself why I get so upset – saying goodbye to friends, tears streaming down my face, internally asking myself why are you like this?!. Asking why my body involuntarily gets so worked up about saying goodbye to people, when I knew I would have to say goodbye to them eventually. It’s a city of adventurous and aspiring people after all.

I sat and I really thought about.

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When you move out of home, or across the world like me, the friends you make become your family. Your friends become the support network that is there when you’re crying out of stress, or crying because you can’t stop laughing. They’re there when you’ve got exciting news you want to share, they’re there dancing alongside you at gigs, they’re there when you just want someone to join you for a coffee. So naturally, losing these people, this support network, is never going to be easy.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

A city life promotes a different type of friendship, well certainly different to the friendships I ever had in New Zealand. The friends I make tend to live a short distance away, and this is what I love most. The making of spontaneous plans, popping around to see a friend, meeting for lunch or coffee, even just having a drink at the pub after work together. London is all about the sociable life. So when this lifestyle changes, such as a friend leaving, it’s hard to feel okay about it – because one small difference can affect your daily life so much. We don’t tend to deal with unwanted change too well, and we do become sad. We all do. I’ve had my closest friends fly home, and I have had my closest of English friends move out of London – it’s the same, and in my head it’s the drama of the century.  I enjoy having my closest friends …well, close.

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I moved to London on my own.

I was an 18 year old from New Zealand, who arrived and knew absolutely nobody. To be quite honest with you, the first few nights in London, I was terrified. Terrified that nobody would like me, and terrified that I would make no friends. And then I moved into my first flat. I arrived as the outsider, and by the end of the first week, I was out celebrating my 19th birthday surrounded by people. Now, all of those people I met in my first months, I would be lucky to see anyone of them once a year. It was a gradual thing – I moved flat, made new friends, my old friends moved, I moved flat again, made new friends, so on, so on. It became an expectation to say goodbye, or at least ‘see you later’.

The knowledge of my own need for progression, allowed me to accept saying goodbye to others. Half the time, as I’m standing there with tears streaming down my cheeks as I say goodbye, I am happy; I am excited for my friends to move on to greater adventures. I’ve been that person my whole life, and I know that feeling of having to move on. We all live our lives with the aspiration of progress, and we all have to be selfish sometimes.


I was at the top of St. Paul’s with a friend one day. We were looking down at the thousands of people below us, and then, he said:

“Isn’t it amazing how amongst all those people, with different lives and different stories, we meet people with similar interests and form friendships.”

Yes, it is amazing. Making friends in a city of 8 million people may seem like a given, but it’s not as easy as that. Everything happens for a reason, and people come into our lives as we need them. Even though saying goodbye is hard, the most important thing to remember is that life will always endure a bit of mileage.

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