Svo Hljótt.

Covent Garden
My late teens are where silence became a solace for me. In the quiet, I learned to truly listen to myself without the swirling noise of the chaos called the world to bend, break and twist my thoughts. In the quiet one can truly find the peace I believe. It is something that people often find unnerving when they come into my life. "But... But... But why would you want to be alone?", a question that has been posed to me many a time. I often chuckle and wink explaining to them, that I'd like to spend some time with one of the most important people in my life. Myself. This isn't a gimmicky self-care 101 type of thing, it's a genuine need for me-time, to just chill out and let my brain rest. The introvert in me has genuinely grown to treasure solitude and I think there is something special about the echoing silence that surrounds you in moments of alone-ness. I'm talking alone, not lonely, for there is a difference my friends. I enjoy being alone, but not being lonely, something I've written about roughly here.
2018 rushed into our lives with a whirlwind of fireworks, optimism and promises of this being our year; now we're hurtling through the months - racing through March, and a lot of us are wondering, "How are we already this far in?!". We've been working in silence, building things up brick by boring brick and I can sense the deafeningly monotonous tinkering of the hopeful and the faithful trying, trying and trying again. Often my best works or achievements come out of the silent periods. I mean silence on all levels, physical silence and what I consider spiritual silence. When you're physically alone, when you feel like you're spiritually alone and when things in life are quiet when you're not sure where you should be, or what you should be doing. When you've metaphorically sown your seeds, toiled the ground endlessly and still have yet to see a single bud emerge from the ground. For me, this has always been a sign that bigger and greater things are to come, should I keep on toiling.
One of the most difficult things to do I think is work in silence in this day and age. We live in an era of almost instantaneous and instant gratification so it can be heartbreakingly hard to keep climbing our personal mountains. A lot of the time it feels like one step forward, three steps back, and we can look to our left and right and see others thriving and living their best lives. Keep going and fix your eyes on the race before you, even when your legs hurt, even when you want to break down and cry, even when your chest feels like it's going to explode. Keep going, keep walking your path in the quiet. I should probably note that I myself have been fairly absent from social media/blogging as I'm climbing my own personal mountains and toiling the ground as it were. I'm right beside you, waiting for all things to come together for good. 

There is beauty in the silence. Keep going. Try again, try again, try again, try again, try again, try again and try yet again.  There is someone, something, infinitely bigger than all of us working all things for good. Always remember this.

What I Wore...

 DENIM PINAFORE - asos (old) | ROLLNECK - boden | BOOTS - topshop (old)



In The Pauses.

Firstly, thank you all so much for your kind words on my little secret reveal. It has been so wonderful to read your words of encouragement, excitement and pure happiness towards this new chapter of my life! Everything still feels a bit... well new and I'm getting to grips with trying to balance everything in my life right now without getting burnt out, so today's post is quite apt for this particularly busy Monday afternoon. My free time is fleeting at current, with my hours divided between my career, voluntary work, church life and (trying - and failing to have) a social life. The little time I do have in between is used to simply chill out, and more often than not, I swap the social aspect of my day to day life for what I lovingly refer to as my self-care sessions.  With winter in full flux (hello snow showers!), I've noticed that as a collective we entered February a little blue. The enthusiasm that thrust us into the new year with vigour and determination has somewhat evaporated, leaving us feeling a lot like cups that are half empty, rather than half full. As it's winter, a lot of the time I don't really want to leave my house during these precious moments of ephemeral lull, but this means I more often than not, will have to find fresh ways to keep inspired and happy during the colder months when like a bear, I hibernate (sorry to my irl friends but it is far too chilly!).
I've pledged to read a minimum of twenty books on Goodreads this year. I'm currently on book four (i think) which is the Life Of Pi (I'm struggling with the overly descriptive portions - But ploughing through nonetheless because I refuse to not finish it. Reading for me is both educational and an act of self-indulgence. In reading I learn to become a better writer; it forces me to think of the plot, explore metaphors and play with words I've never come across before. In reading, I'm transported to new realms, in my current case, I'm amidst fragrant trees and zoo animals in Pondicherry, a few chapters later and I can hear the Pacific ocean roaring in my ears, I can almost taste the salty sea water and I can feel the warmth of the sunset as my eyes follow Yann Martells words across pages. A lot of my free time is spent reading, certainly on my commute or on lazy weekends where I sit cross-legged in bed with a mug of coffee... Speaking of coffee..
There is a special sort of joy that is derived from the mundane moments in life. Really feeling the warmth of your duvet as it encases you on a chilly morning, the plink-plonking of raindrops across your window on a dull grey day, the smell of coffee wafting through the house whilst Billie Holiday's voice plays softly in the background. Absolute bliss. Sometimes my self-care consists of nothing more than... well, doing nothing. Just sitting in peace with a quiet coffee, (lately, I've been enjoying Beanies premium roast or their flavoured instant coffee and for tea, I am in love with Jing's Bohea Lapsang tea - deliciously smoky. Thanks, Sally!). These little hot drink rituals warm up both my cold fingers and somehow my soul, I think the simple act of just being, not rushing and just enjoying whatever I'm feeling in the moment is something I am really enjoying. Sometimes it's nice to slow down, especially after a week of battling people on the tube for a seat (the Jubilee line at West Hampstead is comparable to The Hunger Games).
I've been fairly absent on social media since my trip to Nigeria in December. I'm not sure if it is social media overload, or just being exceptionally busy but I've become slightly detached from my phone, a blessing rather than a curse I suppose, but  recently I decided to refresh my blog reading list, focusing more on writers, creators, photographers, poets, and anyone and anything that would ignite a fire of 'YES!' in my belly. I've been digging Laila's beautiful writing, Gem's delicious recipes, Mariell's honest posts on motherhood and life and Annette's moody photography. All these wonderful people (and more such as RebeccaChloeSaraMichelle) plant seeds of inspiration in my heart that bloom through my own creative pursuits.

So that's what I've been doing in the fleeting moments of quiet. I've been reading, resting and getting inspired in this little chrysalis, but winter will soon be coming to an end and then I'll be emerging (hopefully a rested excited little butterfly). Here's to a lovely week, everyone



On: Lessons In Love.

“Your taste in men… has always been questionable Sade” said Emmy one evening. I could feel her rolling her eyes at me through the phone, I grinned and laughed a knowing laugh. It was true, my taste in the opposite sex was somewhat problematic. I’ve always had an issue with regards to falling for the wrong people. From the crush in school with the braided hair a la Lil Bow Wow era, tall and wiry, with skin the colour of that first morning espresso (who subsequently bullied me from year 8 until year 11 for daring to fancy him – He was the ‘it guy’ of our year and I was the weird art kid whose skirt was too long, watched Naruto and had a concave chest), To the artsy Greek hippie with waist length curly chocolate hair complete with single dreadlock and a uh… unique sense of style (although he did introduce me to Bonobo, very good coffee and an abundance of brilliant indie films).

When I unceremoniously split with my boyfriend during my thesis submissions, I swore on cupid that I was done done done with relationships. Heartbreak is a bitch, she wrings you, she pushes you, she almost… breaks you, but she doesn’t and after hours, days and months of crying and pining, life continues as always. You go to work, you drink one too many glasses of wine with your girlfriends, you go to the gym, you keep on going and then suddenly… Your heart doesn’t hurt so much. You don’t flinch when people say his name. You don’t feel a pang of sadness when you smell his perfume on the tube, instead, you smile and understand that he was another lesson in love
You see with the culmination of each crush, flame, boyfriend, I unknowingly flourished. I got closer and closer to what I truly wanted in a lover. Taking baby steps further and further away from “Dang he’s hot” to “I love the relationship he has with his family”. Moving from present-day attributes that will fade in time, to characteristics that are more future focused. With crush A, I learned that I shouldn’t let any man belittle me, and that actually I am pretty damn amazing and should not have feelings for someone who thinks otherwise. With crush B I understood that in the end, the most important relationship I will ever have is with myself and I harnessed the power of true self-love. With flame 2.0 I realised that what I thought I wanted in a long-term spouse and what I actually wanted were two very different things. My focus shifted off how good looking he may, what job he had if he had bought a house etc and I began to understand the importance of a guy who is generous, kind, pious, and sweet.

With my last boyfriend, I learned that it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. I look back and I can honestly say that I’m happy he dumped me (and also happy he dumped me during my submissions as it gave me more energy to pump into my work strangely enough). If he hadn’t have ended things, I probably would have dragged us through the relationship until we both resented each other (Hey I don’t like giving up ok! But sometimes you have to face the facts). I’m enjoying singlehood right now and it’s fun to feel the fluttering wings of a blossoming crush unfolding in my stomach, it’s nice to be able to actually laugh with girlfriends at the fact that I spent a solid two weeks in my room crying and binging on Chinese food post-breakup and lamenting my impending cat and dog mama status. 
So what I’m trying to say is, take the burnt out remnants of the fire that was once a passionate relationship, and with it understand that you are a different person than you used to be, you have grown, your heart is wiser and you are closer to being with the person you were destined to be with (I’m a huge believer in things happening for a reason). Keep your mind open, be prudent with your heart and always always always trust your instincts. 

With that said, Happy Valentine’s Day – Whether you’re single, unsure, in a relationship, married, separated, divorced or widowed. I hope you show yourself a little love.



A Plot Twist.


When Full Stops Turn Into Commas,

December 22nd I think. Or maybe it was the 23rd, I can't remember. But what I do remember is having to run home last minute to get changed out of the leopard print skirt and slogan knitted jumper I was wearing, and into the blackest most 'I'm too cool to be 'cool', but I'm obviously very cool with this ensemble' turtleneck and some matching black jeans, hanging halfway out of my laundry basket. I crawl on the floor searching for my comfy Topshop leather boots, pile my hair into a top knot, grab my oyster card from the dressing table and quite literally, leg it to SE1. Out of breath and mildly confused, I reach my destination when my phone rings. Bzzzzz Bzzzz Bzzzzzzzz! I'm already tight on time, so I consider clicking the red decline button, but then I register the number and my heart drops into my stomach. Oh no, oh no, oh no, I think as I answer. I hear a frenzied "We are so so sorry oh my gosh! Your interview has been cancelled - Have you arrived at the office yet?" "Yes... Yes, I have, I'm literally outside" I say very quietly. After much back and forth, I accept their apologies, wish them a lovely Christmas and walk pointedly to any coffee shop I can find and I sit with a flat white in one hand and a mixture of tears, concealer and smudged mascara coating the other. "In your time", I whisper to myself on the train home later that evening. In your time. 
December rolls into January with terrifying speed, and I return to the UK with my belly filled, my skin two shades darker and my soul filled with memories of family, sunshine and a lot of dancing. On the second Monday of the new month, I receive a phone call whilst writing notes on encouragement and persistence in achieving goals, it's the same kind woman from December asking if I was still looking for that particular role. I say yes and the next day I'm repeating that same journey again, this time with less laboured breathing and a heart crying out "In YOUR time. Everything good in your time". Usually, when it comes to job interviews I prepare methodically, almost insanely. I arrive two hours early to go through my obsessive notes about the practice profile, brushing up on my BREEAM and Lifetime Homes Knowledge. This time, I barely looked up the practice and only remembered my portfolio as I was halfway to the bus stop. 

I got the job...

I've been settling into my new role, tackling heavy deadlines and simultaneously trying to figure out a tonne of construction lingo as well as technical and structural drawings (my pet hate) with a sense of gusto. It has been... Extraordinarily challenging so far. I laughed with a friend the other day saying when we finally get what we pray for, more often than not, it's what we prayed for but with some life lessons attached to it. We don't get what we want and then a full stop. Oh no! Life is a series of commas, ellipses, dashes, colons, semi-colons, brackets, exclamation marks!!! (of which I am very fond of) and inverted commas. So right now, I think... there's a semi-colon at the end of where I'm currently at, thoughts of what next squeeze their way around my mind as I'm click clicking away at my desk, sipping a coffee and informing the client of when I'd be able to tackle that structural section. But for now, I welcome this semi-colon, the idea of a rolling stone gathering no moss, the not-so-impossible notion that finally, finally, my life seems to be heading somewhere again, and that my friends, feels oh so very very good. Another chapter of this book called life.

What I Wore...

Wrap Dress* - Likemary | Circle Bag (similar)* - Next | Necklace - Lekki Market | Merino Scarf* - Likemary | Block Heels* - Next | Lipstick - Colourpop 



Here's One I Wrote Earlier.

Istanbul, Turkey
It is 23:28 pm and I am on a flight to Istanbul. My mouth feels like a cavernous desert, arid and crackly. My eyes damp with a mixture of "I miss you already" and a heated exchange from the hours before: a blazing standoff between two very different, but very similar women. I sigh realising, it has only been eight days into the New Year and the air is already thick with palpable tension, tired bodies and unsaid words that lay just on the tip of our tongues, ready to roll off with the slightest intonation of enmity. I want to write and write and write and write on this flight. I want to jab the paper with my pen and let the ink bleed off of the pages. I want to transfer all of this pent-up energy into something, something good. I want to sow these seeds, fertilize and see.. something, pregnant with purpose. Carthasis. My favourite word. It rolls off my tongue too - Much like the words I spat angrily and half meant earlier.

With little sleep under my belt and my head and heart pounding rhythmically to the beat of one too many plastic tumblers of wine mixed with three cups of coffee, I eventually close my eyes and I think. My eyes spill over with tears, not happy or sad tears, just tears. I exhale "Whooooooosh..." and thicker and faster they fall, blurring my vision and then leaving me with a sense of clarity and vision for the remainder of the year. I glance over at my phone, registering that something is playing quietly in my ears, it's 'Oceans'. I feel my eyes well up again and this time I smile to myself.
"I feel like I've just flown 600mph head on into the most beautiful metaphor of my life. If you fly high enough, if you get above the clouds, it's a never ending summer"
- Caitlin Moran (How To Build A Girl).
Communication is said to be the key to life, and sometimes, just sometimes I think it is. Communication, unwavering love, kindness, humility... And the strength to say, "I'm sorry" and truly mean it with every fibre of ones being. Here's to, brick by not so boring brick (Paramore reference), rebuilding and restoring relationships, after all, we're only human.

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