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Thank You 2017

Thank You 2017
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2017 - you almost destroyed me but you’ve pushed me to become even stronger, loving, optimistic and happier than I’ve ever been before. It’s a year that has invoked my empathy, added to my compassion and truly changed me for the better.

If you’d have asked me three months ago how I felt; it would be a narrative of “worst year of my life” with a dash of “I can’t wait for it to end”. 

A year that I found myself dropping people I considered life-long friends, boyfriends I thought could be for the long-hall, jobs I thought would flourish in.

A year that saw my mental health reach news lows, my physical health deteriorate as well as my inability to be truly honest with those around me about what was really going on. 

A year that up until recently I found myself resenting, citing it as my worst year yet, and whilst I’m ready to let 2017 go and move onto pastures new in 2018, it’s taught me more than I could ever imagine.

You see this year pushed me emotionally to new lengths - but the one thing I learnt was to truly know myself. And, trust me, when I first heard expressions like this I laughed too.

For a long-time, I’m talking years, I’ve had this overriding feeling of being unhappy. I’ve hidden it, I’ve tried to fix it by using people as a form of medication, I’ve ignored what I needed and instead replaced it with what I thought I wanted.

I have spent time in relationships that, now, I wouldn’t ever have entered, I stayed with people because I felt like I needed someone, I dated someone recently largely on the basis I couldn't bear the thought of being alone.

I’ve spent a long period of my life with this overriding fear of being alone; friends, boyfriends, family. In turn, it’s manifested in me being unhappy, and relying on others to fill a void. 

In 2017 this really came to light; I came out of an 18-month on/off ‘relationship’ to go into another a week later, whilst telling the person I’d been single all year. I was embarrassed by my own actions I had to lie - yet this wasn’t warning sign enough for me. 

When that person cheated, it really did break me. But, after taking a massive step back it was one of the most positive things to come out of this year. Whilst it broke me, it also forced me to assess my relationship with myself and instead of jumping to the next person, jump fully into a relationship with myself.

Much like my relationships, my friendships have carried toxicity for longer than I’d hoped.

In London, you will find that many friendships are built on fickle fundamentals. You will become friends with people that you think will be there for you for anything, but actually they won’t.

I lost my best friend this year and truthfully losing him hurt me more than anything else this year; this was someone I adored like a brother, shared everything with and genuinely would have done anything for. He was my best friend.

The problem with losing friends is that it’s worse than a break-up, it’s so much deeper because it was something built on the best parts of a relationship without the complicating physical and mental side. It’s the most incredible partnership you can have.

But it can also be the most toxic.

Being friends with this person meant it had a negative impact on me and truthfully when I needed this person to be there for me, they couldn’t have been less interested and demonstrated just how fickle they can be.

It’s not just relationships in any capacity that hurt; jobs.

I quit my job in April to begin in a new industry, which I was super excited for, and truthfully it went awfully.

The company were anything but what they’d advertised, deep rooted issues with little prospects, no respect and a deeply unrealistic expectation of everyone there but themselves. 

But - whilst I could dwell on the past - this year has taught me that I want to do anything but.

Because whilst there have been a million failures, a million mistakes, a million tears there have also been a million blessings, a million laughs and a million memories that I will never forget.

This has been the year that I feel I have really found myself; in the last few months I’ve become comfortable just being me, to the point I actually love it and I couldn’t be less interested in finding someone. I’ve found a solace I didn’t know I had in myself, I have found a sense of content I didn’t realise I had and - dare I say it - I have developed a love for myself.

And whilst I’ve lost people, I’ve gained people.

I’ve gained a circle of friends that I can truly depend on, the friends who are there for you to go for a random drink through to picking up the phone at your lowest 2am moment, the friends that you can go out for dinner and drinks with or just slob in front of the sofa with. The friends that you couldn’t ask for, the ones that you just find and truly realise what the word ‘friendship’ means.

Whilst I can’t sit here and tell you that it’s been my finest year, it actually has been my most insightful. It’s been the year I’ve learnt so much about myself; I have learnt that I have the ability to forgive even when I don’t want to, I have a new compassion, a new sense of what I want from live.

And you know what, for the first time in what feels like years I can say I am truly happy.

So thank you 2017, you've been better than I ever could have imagined.


I choose to forgive

I choose to forgive
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I've always thought of myself as a Blair Waldorf when it comes to people hurting me.

Revenge is the best option.

I mean I’ve spent the best part of the last 5 years re-watching every series to the point that I know most episodes word-for-word, I know the soundtrack and I’ve mentally envisioned myself marrying Chuck, Nate AND Lonely Boy, a.k.a, Dan.

So when my ex cheated on me, part of me wanted to channel my inner over-privileged teenager. I told him I'd do everything I could to ruin his life, I told him that until he felt as rubbish as I did in that moment I wouldn't rest.

I mean, imagine every dramatic set of words you can and I probably said it with a floating sensation that I’d follow through with every action.

And for about 30 minutes I believed it. I mean I genuinely came up with a genius idea to subtly annoy him for months, then go in for the bigger goals. But I realised - revenge isn’t for me. Revenge isn’t a dish “best served cold”, it’s a dish best served not at all.

When someone hurts you, you're often presented with two options; fight them or forgive them.

You can choose to fight; aim to make them feel as small and insignificant as you do some how. Try to bring some form of pain and trouble to them, spend your days thinking about what would hurt them as much as they hurt you.

And your thoughts will undoubtedly run away alongside your anger. You'll come to have thoughts that aren't in the slightest bit rational and your anger will manifest into your own deeply rooted unhappiness.

I know because that was me. These thoughts, no matter how fleeting, ended up hurting me more than they’d ever hurt that person.

And I mean, hell to the no will I be known as the psycho ex.

Because as much as I'd love to send a GG blast with the intimate details of his private life, do a BW and sleep with a best friend in the backseat of a limo or even marry a Prince in spite - that's just not how I operate.

Sometimes people need your forgiveness more than they need your anger - and sometimes it’s you who needs your own forgiveness more than holding onto the hurt they caused you.

I realised the worst thing I could do to him is forgive him, and forget him.

The thing is being angry and holding a grudge wasn't doing anything to help me.

Sitting there day in and day out thinking about why he did it, the girl he cheated with just manifested into my own hell. A bubble of unhappiness where I felt inadequate, when in reality I'm anything but.

So I chose - I chose forgiveness.

I forgive him for everything he did, I forgive him for hurting me and I forgive everything else that followed after.

The truth is you really do live and learn. You live, you get hurt and you can choose to cling to that pain or forgive and move on.

So in the words of Oasis, don't look back in anger. I mean it.

LeBab, Soho

LeBab, Soho
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Kebabs - I mean is it just me or do you associate them with the greasy cuisine, if you can call it that, that you stuff your face with in the early hours of a Sunday morning after a heavy drinking session at the Clapham North, or Infernos, or whatever watering hole you choose. 

I sure as hell did - until I ventured to LeBab.

LeBab is located in Kingly Court, moments from many bars if you do want to recreate the above, and provides the classiest take on kebabs I've ever seen.

The interiors are instagram friendly, the location perfect, the staff good-looking and the menu delicious. 

We dined on a Wednesday, and in true Wine Wednesday style opted for a "sensible" option of a bottle due to my impending job the next day. We went for the Sauvignon Blanc "Attitude" 2014, on the recommendation of the waiter. Truthfully - when it comes to wine I don't know a thing and my knowledge is really basic. I know what I enjoy (read: any) but I couldn't tell you what pairs well with a kebab given my knowledge stretches only so far.

However - wine wise - what I will say is that we enjoyed it. My friend, a skilled-wine-drinker, didn't struggle to drink it so we'll give it a pass at least.

But - now to the important part - the food.

More often than not, the moment I see 'Mezze' on a menu my heart skips a beat. My favourite kind of food, the food which thrills me to no end - and this was no exception. 

We opted for the hummus (because why would you not?) and the LeBab Bhajis. 

Believe it or not - I actually didn't know hummus was chickpeas until recently. Please don't ask me how I've managed living on my own for over four years, because I simply haven't got a clue.

But - my god - dat hummus, mm. I can 100% get on board with a hummus and this one was truly fantastic. Now I'm aware there is only so much I can say about hummus so I'll stop here.

Moving onto the Bhajis - not my usual style but stuff them with braised lamb shoulder, beef shin and onion bhajis with smoked chilli mayo then you've 100% got me on board. These were linked with being my highlight of the meal.

So now we go to the life changing revelation that; kebabs can be classy. 

I opted for the corn-fed chicken shish - trying to remember the last time I'd said those words and not aimed them at an unsuspecting taxi driver -  and eagerly anticipated my epiphany.

And what an epiphany it was.

Firstly, let's assess the instagram potential here:

I mean - bloggers dream right?

I can confirm there was not a plastic box in sight. 

The meat was succulent, juicy and - god I hate this word - moist. But truthfully it was! The additional trimmings are what takes the meat from standard to brilliant - giving something that traditionally gets covered in sauce a fantastic reason not to be. 

And because you all know I love a good 'cheap eat', you'll be glad to know this is exceptionally reasonable. Book in advance, if you can, for sure but if you're looking for somewhere chilled to enjoy some food, catch-up with friends then this is the place for you.

My view on kebabs has been changed forever - or until next weekend.


Have we fallen out of love?

Have we fallen out of love?
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The love affair began in the summer of 2015; it was the most overwhelming, exciting and fast-paced relationship I've ever had.

Every moment of the day I couldn't escape it, my mind and body were in it, and I was happy. It was an all consuming love affair that never offered an end, or I never thought of there being an end.

It was love at first sight.

And no, this isn't a relationship with another human.

This is my relationship with London.

I've had this blog for years, it's been London based for over two, and the reason I changed it was to talk about the love of my life.

But what happens when you fall out of love?

In the last few months, London has dealt me a shit hand and subsequently I've come to question our relationship.

Will it work long term? Will it get better? Am I putting in more than I get out? Can we survive this?

The questions one typically asks when on the brink of breaking up, the questions I've been pondering for over two months.

London was something I always talked about, probably from the age of 12, and in my first job my boss knew I wanted London more than the job so when presented with the chance to move I just did it.

Truthfully, I've never looked back, and I could never even dream of saying I regret that decision because it truly has been the making - and close to breaking - of me.

In the time I've been here, I've met the most incredible people. People who inspire me, people who have taught me, people who have cared for me, people I've loved and the people that remind me why I hate people sometimes. It's a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly.  

I've seen some amazing things; a variety of sunrises and sunsets across London, talent from across the country being completely at home in this weird and wonderful city.

It's a place you can walk down the road in a matter of outfits, with the craziest hair or outfit, and Londoner's won't bat an eyelid. It's the place where people came together after attack after attack so show their defiance in the face of terrorism. It's the place where you can voice your opinion and be heard, a place where people talk politics openly without being overshadowed by their small-town view.

But truth be told - for a city which is so overpopulated - it’s the place which I’ve felt most lonely in my entire life. With all of these benefits, all of these amazing people - why do I feel so isolated?

Somewhere that I’ve felt I had no one to turn to, no one to speak to on many occasions all whilst being crammed onto a northern line like sardines.

It's hard when you love something so much - yet you're not sure if it's healthy, or right, for you anymore.

But in the spirit of the typical Londoner, I have stumbled across a lifeline. Something which could potential end a drought of let down friends, and no this isn't sponsored but the idea influenced this post.

Sebastian, the founder, moved to London with his partner a few years ago and found it hard to make friends. I can relate - making friends out of school is hard. It's not socially acceptable to randomly start chatting to someone in London like it was as a child in school. So they developed Pal App - an app where it's not dating, it's not sleazy but you can make friends.

Apps, or startups, or initiatives like this are one of the reasons I came to love London. People in London get it; you're a small fish in a pond, don't get me wrong, but people understand that sometimes living in London isn't like the films.

And whilst honestly I think part of me has fallen out of love with London - not enough to leave but enough to slightly alter our relationship, like when you forgive someone for doing you a wrong but can't forget it - it's not enough to ruin our relationship.

Don't let this ramble of emotions ever deter you from making the move - it has been the most insane few years of my life and I have had experiences that 5 years ago I only dreamed of and I wouldn't change it for the world.

But it's tough. Nothing worth doing, or having, is easy though - right?


Maybe it's time to love me?

Maybe it's time to love me?
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As much as I'd love to wish I wasn't, I'm no stranger to dating.

Truth be told - I've on and off dated for years. In primary school I always had a “crush”, someone's name I'd dot in my ‘play book’.

Now, at 22, I can't remember a time I was truly single. Whilst I've not been in many proper relationships, there's always been someone.

Whether it's a long term fling, a singular date, someone I'm perusing. It's truly been a long time where I've not felt I needed some sort of male presence in my life, perhaps some sort of male validation, but definitely someone.

Honestly I don't know why this is. I've tried to be single, when I ended things with a someone I'd been seeing for a year and a half, yet I found myself dating other people, revisiting previous flings after just two weeks of trying.

It is almost as if, despite my constant outpour of the opposite, that maybe I’m unable to be completely alone. That I seek the wrong people in search of the 'right' feeling.

But when I’m with them, it’s not as if I am even slightly dependent on them. I do my own thing, pay my own bills and just live as I would have if they weren’t there.

Ultimately it could be confidence thing - everyone wants to feel wanted and what's better than feeling that every day?

And that's where part of the problem lies. My need to be wanted by others, the need to feel desired despite not desiring that person myself.

This need pushes me to repeat mistake after mistake, date person after person, fall “in love” time and time again with the wrong person whilst convincing myself they must be right.

Holding onto the feeling they once made me feel months before, just for that singular moment that will never exist.
And the lack of confidence doesn't just lie with my relationship with men - it's my relationship with everything. Work, friends and family.

Confidence is the thing that will get you a job, help you achieve something you might not have before and push you to become something you never knew possible - and truth be told without it, you'd sink.

And truth be told - again - I think I'm kind of sinking right now.

But - in true fighting spirit - there's ways to learn to love yourself rather than waiting for someone else to love you, which is what I'm going to do.

I'm embarking on a journey of self-love, where the only love I will be perusing is for myself.

The thing is that whilst sometimes I think I need some form of validation - the truth is I don't.

Maybe I'm an attention whore, maybe I need someone to tell me I look great, that they love me - but that person could be me.

Trust me - I'm learning.

And no, this isn't a overly feminist narrative where I'll condemn every man because “every man is the same” is the biggest lie ever told, just like “every woman is the same”, because like f**k am I being compared to Theresa May.

So for everyone out there who has dated since the age it was socially acceptable, I feel every ounce of your self-doubt, need for attention and want of being wanted - and I also know that you don't need it.

I'm turning my back on my quest for “love someone”, in a quest to “love myself”, whilst blasting ‘Love Myself - Hailee Steinfeld on repeat in case I falter.

P.S, part of self-love is trying to get better at this blogging thing.


Hangover Be Gone

Hangover Be Gone
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In the summer more than ever, we're prone to having one too many glasses of wine or that extra shot we know we shouldn't be doing, but regardless succumb to the chants from our friends. If you're not spending at least a day hungover a week then are you really doing London right?

We're kidding, of course you don't have to drink to find London fun. But when you're hungover it's easy to think it's the worst place in the world when really it's, believe us, the best. And we've been there more than we'd like to admit, forgetting how much there is to do despite being hungover and instead scoffing Meat n' Shake on the sofa. 

But don't worry - we've got some ideas to help guide you through that hangover from hell...

The obvious option for any Londoner, and something we've expressed we're exceptionally passionate about previously. When hungover is there anything better than bacon, coffee and avo being presented in front of you? We think not. Find out our favourite brunch spots HERE

And if you're feeling brave, Bottomless Brunch
There is nothing quite like hair of the dog. Some people can, some people can't - there really is no telling. But if you can then you're in luck because there are so many different bottomless brunches across the City - and they're reasonably priced in most cases. We recently headed to Tootoomoo Bottomless Brunch and LOVED it.

Go and get some fresh air with London's sights
Get out, get yourself moving and before you know it you'll forget you're even hungover. We promise - 75% of the time it works.

Failing that - seek sugar 
Find some sugar. Whether it's trying a Freakshake from Molly Bakes in Hackney, or Dum Dum doughnuts from Shoreditch. If you're feeling exceptionally adventurous - head to either Maltby Market or Broadway Market for an array of sugary treats. 

Cold water...
Anyone else get MAJOR cravings for being in cold water? No - just me? Head to one of the many Lidos in London if you want to get your swim on...obviously weather permitting. 

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