Never forget you are amazing

Happiness has been my go-to conversation piece when drunk for about the last month. As soon as I hit that third glass of wine tipping point, whoever I’m out with gets gifted a drunken Runawaykiwi preaching about happiness – apologies to everyone caught up in the ramble. Rather than continue to piss off my friends, I thought I would write something hopefully more coherent on this little old blog of mine.

I’m not quite sure if it is social media, the stage in life I’m in (late 20’s for anyone asking) or the language of modern marketing imprinting itself on my brain; at the moment we only speak in bests and worsts. It’s no longer ok to be just simply happy, now you need to be living in a constant state of ecstasy or alternatively be a tight ball of misery in order to fit in with the crowd.

I am really happy at the moment. God writing that felt like declaring a political statement. It’s not that I am an overnight Zoella, have been promoted to CEO or am suddenly getting married; I’m just getting enough sleep, have been doing some fun London stuff, drinking a lot of coffee and have actually managed to catch up with my friends. Not earth shattering, but I’m smiling and content. And yet this happiness is quite simply not something you hear about very often. It is partially because you are sensitive to others emotions and don’t want to rub happiness in the face of someone who is struggling, but it is mostly because stressed is the new normal.

The biggest issue I have with this best/worst mentality is that it is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Think back to the last time someone asked how you were, I would put money on your reply going something along the lines of “I’m so stressed and/or tired/shattered”…and it might be have been true. The problem is the more you say it, the more you reduce your emotional rainbow down to those two negative emotions, and after a while you don’t even bother to think about how you actually feel, you automatically go straight to stressed. You begin to forget that stressed and tired are just temporary states of being, you forget that they do not identify you.

I listened to this being discussed on the Being Boss podcast and their suggestion was to add a positive twist to the end of your automatic reaction; change “I’m so stressed” to “I’m busy but loving it”. I’m not sure that works for every situation, sometimes you are just stressed to all hell. But identifying the bigger picture really can work. This week in particular it’s too reductionist to say “I’m stressed”, instead it could be “I’m so excited for Christmas and I want to get all this work finished before the break”. It’s not “I’m stressed” its “I’ve got a big project and its taking up a lot of my energy”. Or hell, it’s not “I’m stressed” it could even be “I’m great”. Turns out just like complaining about teachers and homework made you cool in high school, being stressed makes you fit in at work.

Motivational quotes on my wall

The Pinterest impact can’t be overlooked either. Now I love a motivational quote, I pin quotes most days and have them all over the walls in my room. The danger is if they stop being little nuggets of lovely and actually start making you feel bad about your life, as if you are not doing it right unless EVERYTHING IS MAGICAL ALL THE TIME.

The funny thing about happiness is that, just like all emotions, it’s on a spectrum. Happiness runs from the tiny things like that first sip of coffee, through the middle ground of planning world domination with friends over wine, right up to the highs of finally having wanderlust satisfied – or my personal highlight this year of seeing my sister marry the love of her life, a moment so happy that it was in another emotion universe entirely. With all the Pinterest-beautiful quotes floating round, I get the impression that it’s only ‘happiness’ if it falls in the top 10% of the spectrum.

You are selling your happiness so so short if you can’t bask in the tiny happy moments that dot your day. That top 10% of social media approved happiness means that apparently 90% of your life is unhappy. That’s just terrifying.

I’m not sure if this post is any better than the wine ramble, but I think what I am trying to say is that this is your life, every second of it is a moment that you won’t get back. Don’t sell yourself short by falling into stressed/tired automatic-reaction trap, or feeling like your little moments of happiness aren’t big enough to count and enjoy. Wake up and think “I get to do this, I can try again and might even find some happy today”, and if that is too hippy dippy for you just remember that today you can buy a coffee and treasure that first sip. The emotions you are feeling are delightfully temporary, the fact that you are amazing is a constant that you need to keep in your heart every day.

Christmas is going to be a hard time for a lot of you reading this, either because you are an expat away from home or you might be home with your family…but your family is a bit cray. Forget that its not THE BEST CHRISTMAS OF ALL TIME, forget for a moment that being unhappy is cool and just enjoy those little moments. Use the silly jumper, the mulled wine and a surprise ‘Merry Christmas’ from a colleague you didn’t think knew you existed to get you through.

So, after all that I have to ask…what makes you happy?

xx

 

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Happiness

Adore and Endure

Ok lovelies it’s time for my favourite things post. I was going to write my favourite things about Christmas in London, but its November so screw that I’M NOT JOHN LEWIS. Instead I thought I would write about something unbelievable close to my heart; my favourite things, the weirdos I surround myself with.

A lot is expected of girls these days. We have to be mothers and career driven, effortlessly sexy and comfortingly conservative, we have to have chosen both the red and blue pill in life and smile calmly while swallowing it all. But you know what? Despite it all? The girls are alright.

These beautiful freakish snowflakes that I am honoured to call my friends are being brave every day. They are struggling with made for TV movie type issues, stuff that none of us were prepped to handle. We don’t quite know how to adult yet. We fall apart, in the most explosive and sometimes entertaining ways but always find a way to put ourselves together again. The girls are gracious and humble but can swear like sailor to prove a point or just because saying fuck is fun. They are defensive and challenging and the most thoughtful friends a Runawaykiwi could have.

The girls are emotional but not weak, appreciative but not dependent and by god the girls are funny.

These favourite things of mine are always there, always ready to offer tea/gin/hugs as needed. And if that’s not enough? These girls will create an elaborate murder plot just to make you smile, and the best part is never being quite sure if they would follow through with it or not.

These girls have taken brave steps in their careers, not always the ones you would expect but the ones that are right for them. The girls value happy as much as they do drive and determination.

Friends like these are everything, they are not always right but will stand by your side as you are as wrong as wrong can be. You for sure don’t agree with everything, that would be far too boring. But the differences pail into comparison with the endless support, kindness, strength, friendly bullying, creative spark, love and laughter that are on offer.

I know when I moved to London the thought of making friends seemed like an abstract concept, after all how the hell do you make friends as an adult anyway? Well turns out you start blogging and join twitter, you find girls whose own little bit of madness fits into yours and you send them cat pictures.

Four years ago I was staying in London for my then favourite things; the food, art, culture, grey days and coffee. But now, my god my favourite things are just so much more everything, and most of the time they don’t even charge me to hang out with them.

Love you weirdos, you mean more to me than gin.

And for anyone out there thinking this level of meaningful awesome friendship is unobtainable? That new close friends just aren’t for you? Put yourself out there, find your weirdos…it will change and it will mean everything to you.


Adore and Endure

In my recent flat white post I said I was waiting for it to become legal for me to marry coffee. I got a bit of flak for this from friends who said ‘you can’t marry coffee but don’t worry you will find love soon, you just need to try harder’. Well I will have you know I am trying EXTREMELY hard to find a husband and failing with boundless energy every time.

What have I been doing I hear you ask? Well for starters I am on all the dating apps. And by all I of course mean that I have Tinder. By ‘have Tinder’ I mean that its on the fourth page of apps on my phone and I only use it when drunk with friends who need a laugh, or when watching Game of Thrones (Jon Snow #swoon). I am pretty much the master of Tinder and swipe right for any guy that has a cat in their picture (not a tiger, those tiger pics are whack) or who looks like Doctor Who (9th and 10th Doctors only). Of course when I match with these pussy loving sci-fi lookalikes I don’t talk to them, because you know…who has time for that level of intimacy?

There is also the more IRL tactic of going out to bars. Cliché I know, but some of my most memorable ‘not a date just here trying to avoid talking to anyone why has the gin not arrived yet’ times have been in bars. Its key to have your phone out at all times endlessly scrolling through the magic triptych of Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, just to ensure that no eligible bachelors actually think spontaneously talking to you is a good idea.

Social Life decision making

Since we are in the social media age it would be remiss of me to write a post about finding love in London without talking about online stalking. After you have fallen for a tiny pixelated profile picture on Twitter and chortled at their witty 140 charter repose it might be time to actively proclaim your love and favourite one of their tweets. Just be sure to choose carefully and not favourite a tweet about their childhood dog dying or something…not that any of us would do that right? Right? RIGHT????? Now that you have essentially said you love them by favouriting their non-dying childhood pet tweet it’s time to play the waiting game – after all its surely only time until they propose? Too soon to buy the wedding dress? Just be careful not to re-tweet them as well, don’t want to appear too forward now.

No post about finding love in London would be complete without mentioning the place where Londoners spend 82% of their time, the London Underground. Its a prime dating location because you get a heads-up on all their bad habits before actually speaking to them. Essentially the tube ages all 20 somethings by 40 years, so you get to see the snoring, nail clipping, Sun reading beast that the suited peice of beard sitting opposite you will turn into. Just be careful of the power of underground love, I once nodded to a guy on the central line and I’m now pregnant with his triplets.

Singles nights are ever popular amongst the un-partnered population of London, and for some inexplicable reason most seem to centred around playing ping pong. I mean, I know of many sporting activities that could be described as aphrodisiacs but ping pong is not one of them (anyone who is currently thinking of Thailand please open an incognito tab and take your dirty mind somewhere else). To ensure mating success while playing painfully forced games of ping pong just remember that guys prefer a girl who can beat them in three clean sets, anything else is just foreplay. And of course standard London dating rules apply, if a guy actually tries to be nice to you treat as highly suspicious, keep an eye on your handbag and sidle away as fast as possible.

Keep all of that in mind and you will soon be blissfully in love…are those wedding bells I hear? Oh, just someone wanting to get off the bus…

xx

View of London from St Paul's

I am struggling so much to write this month’s ‘things I would never do again’ travel link up post. Like really struggling. I’m currently sitting in a cafe sipping on my third flat white and I still have a blank piece of paper in front of me. It’s not that I don’t have an endless supply of awkward stories (this is me after all #queenofawkward) it’s just that I can’t quite get my brain to regret any of them. Same goes with ‘bad’ travel moments, or situations that have formed my black and white life rules – they have all made me the person I am today.

So what the hell am I going to write about? I have no idea either. #fuck

Fourth flat white.

Ok lets try this.

Never ever have I ever fallen in love with men who bring me food

  • I am eternally single mostly because of my tendency to turn into a stuttering idiot around nice boys, but I do fall in love with men who bring me food. It probably because a) they bring me food (there really isn’t a b here, it is just the food thing), and I know that the interaction has quite clear parameters. I order, they bring me food – the banter that goes on just fits around that. But I don’t regret it one little bit, its fun and who knows I might end up with a hot coffee making husband (CALL ME RORY).

Never ever have I ever felt cafes are a waste of money

Dear Jervois sage fried eggs

  • Yes when I added up how much I spent on flat whites and brunch over the last year it almost gave me a heart attack (I am onto about £35 today alone). But cafes are my little slice of luxury. I can’t afford the five star hotel or the weekend jaunt to Rome, but I can order a kick ass flat white in a hipster cafe and feel like I have my life together. Not to mention that most of the barristers are gorgeous (see point above).

Never ever have I ever refused to wear a jacket to an interview

  • This harks back to my tax accountant days, where I was told to wear makeup, wear high heels and of course wear a jacket. This still irks me, I want to work for a company that values my intellect not my ability to walk in stilettos or carry off a shoulder pad. Don’t get me wrong I dress nicely for interviews, like the best version of myself but it is my own little test. If a company doesn’t want to hire me because I am not wearing a jacket, well they are seriously measuring me by the wrong metrics. Oh and paradoxically I have a kick ass collection of jackets that I wear to work on a normal day…

Never ever have I ever been just a little bit flaky

  • All my friends know that I am hopeless at replying to messages, and that a month will go by without hearing from me – and by god I feel bad that I’m not better at this. But my brain just can’t cope with the constant contact, I am a true introvert and need down time. Thankfully my friends are AMAZING and just seem to get this about me.

Never ever have I ever valued safety over adventure

Cat sleeping in the tannery of Marrakesh

  • When Emma and I were in Marrakesh recently terrorists were arrested all over Morocco on the second day of our trip. I’m sure we could have continued on with our tiki tour plans to see waterfalls, camels and endless sand but there was a chance (slight though it was) that there would be attacks on tourists in retaliation for the arrests. I just can’t be doing with the stress, I would prefer four days of reading and relaxing by the pool rather than seeing amazing things with a ball of worry in my stomach the entire time. I know this is not a normal travel blogger train of thought, but hey its how I roll.

Never ever have I ever gone on an 18-35 holiday

  • Right of passage? Convenient way to see the world? I went to Egypt with Contiki and loved every minute (well maybe not the 28 hour train calamity). I was 19, the group was entertaining and the country was just breathtaking. It is one of my favorite holidays to date and although I don’t think I would hurry to join a group like that again I look back on it with a huge smile on my face.

 

Whats your never ever have I ever?

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Looking over a fountain in Paris

I originally visited Paris for the romance. The idea of the magical city of lights. The place which sparked with potential. The city where I could pretend to know about art. But the more I visit the more it becomes a bolthole, a place to get away and think/relax/rejuvenate. I think Paris might just be the biggest perk of living in London. I can hear you crying ‘just move to Paris then’, but I don’t want to live there. I want to visit and dive feet first into the culture, the treats and the ‘differentness’ of Paris.

Pink bunny on the Paris Metro

I know I am lucky to have been enough times for Paris to feel comfortable, to know the Metro as well as I know the Underground (although it is beyond me why they have a picture of a pink rabbit). But is it mostly because I have sacrificed traveling to more exotic or far flung destinations in exchange for living in a lovely flat in Zone 1. I would much rather give up that trip to Croatia, Iceland or Jordan if it means walking through my front door each day and smiling because I am so grateful to live in my flat. But this means that when I need a trip (as a kiwi it happens, wanderlust boils in our veins) it has to be close and it has to be affordable…hello Paris.

Having the Eurostar just makes everything ok. I have travelled longer to get to brunch then I have to get to Paris (sadly not kidding on this one). And come to that, I have packed more luggage for brunch than I have for a weekend in Paris. But the almost painless journey through the Chunnel takes you from central London to central Paris in enough time to write a tear stained blog post (more on this tomorrow).

Paris on a grey day

Arriving in Paris I can now ignore the tourist traps. I no longer have the urgent feeling that unless I see the Louvre something tragic might befall it, if I miss the Eiffel Tower a freak lightening storm might bend it beyond recognition. So I can enjoy Paris as the whim takes me. If I want to walk for an hour just to find the perfect place to eat eclairs I can. If I want to rest, go to bed at 4:30pm and watch Star Trek I can. And beyond anything if I just want to sit and watch the world, then Paris is the dream.

There are just a few Paris blog posts to come, not the normal wave of French to take over the blog. But that is because this trip was about all the things that are not blog worthy, the naps, the visits to the supermarche, and the chocolate butt plug exhibition. Actually, I might write about that last one (why do I always end up in these situations???).

A quick train journey and I am in a different world. I am going from the stressed up to the eyeballs London life all about work and fitness, to rediscovering the real me in my favourite magic city. I can’t wait.

Sweet treats in Paris

xx