.: Sunlight and brownies :.

Today was planning to go out for a walk but after baking brownies in the kitchen, I’m feeling a bit tired. Probably the heat doesn’t help either (30 degrees in the living room!)
So instead of going out now, just decided to detox in the room.
I’m actually struggling to find a position where I can actually held my notebook and write while the music is playing in the room and you are moving inside me. It smells brownies all over the house, such a delicious dark chocolate smell.
It would be quite tempting to go back to my computer and get distracted with social media… but sometimes we need to disconnect. No e-mails, no flashing notifications, no distractions, just the here and now. Appreciating the warm light that tries to enter the room, the music playing and the dark chocolate smell.
Considering you are just days before coming out, I should be feeling more stressed and anxious, but actually I’m feeling calm and peaceful. Not because I’m not scared (because I am) but because I’m determined to rest and take it easy. You’ll be born when you decide you are ready, so I’m trying to be ready for you as well.
All I did pretty much this year was to let stress take the best out of me. I felt miserable for a long time (something tells me the hormones had a say on it as well), but it felt I wasn’t being me.
I was moaning and complaining every single day and I even ended up crying on my way back home after a shitty day at the office.
Well you know what? That’s not what I want for me and surely not for you either.
Truth to be told I still don’t know what I want to be and what I should be doing career wise, but I do know who I don’t want to become.
I don’t want to let the child in me die, and I hope the creative me will start to wake up again bit by bit. With so many options out there do I how do I know which road to take? All I know for sure is that I want to spend good quality time with you and dad and give you the same childhood memories as the ones I grew up with.
We never had a luxurious life, on the contrary quite a modest one, but looking back we had the luxury of time well spent together. Running in the beach, gathering sea-shells, building castles in the sand. Running in the fields on the back of our house, grabbing lemons below the tree or grabbing fresh oranges on a sunny day. Or maybe a drive to the mountains where we would jump on the rocks and try not to fall into the river (most likely I would end up doing that and getting my feet wet, whereas my sis would jump faster and more skillfully than clumsy me). We didn’t need any more than that.
Not many of my friends who had better houses, better toys and branded clothing can say the same and I don’t remember being that bothered either even as a kid. Because time is priceless so I want to give the same to you.
There is no point in getting fooled by “lady boss” and “women on leadership” and let’s continue to try to grow as high as I can if that means I won’t have enough time for you. I know for a few years now that I don’t want that life, just haven’t figured out what is my middle ground yet. There’s a part of me that hopes you’ll bring clarity into my head and I’ll end up figuring out what’s best for all of us.
Because in the end all I want is afternoons like this, where I’m here with you, relaxing, stretching my feet, feeling free and enjoying the sun through the windows. Because moments like this have no price, they are memories that will stay with me forever.

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.: The cheesecake and the blank page :.

Is there something more liberating than having time for myself and a blank page staring at you? No pressure, no compromises either. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or what happens next, just being here now and go with the flow.
If you spend all your life following schedules that you can barely control yourself and rushing against time, isn’t it great when nothing else matters, just enjoying the freedom of every single second? You can stop and just stare outside, you can grab the pen and just follow your own words. So many possibilities left to unfold waiting for you.
This feels something we used to have as kids, this type of freedom of being but as we grow older the world seems to build it’s own special rules on us. Be on time for work, prepare an important meeting, leave on time to reach the doctor appointment or pick the kids from school.
And now, while I’m staring at everyone else around me follow the clock outside I realise this might be one of the last times in a long time I’ll be able to do this. Just me, no one else, not even my own expectations of me. I guess the more the reason for me to enjoy it well. Although I’m not necessarily alone anymore either. You are making sure I don’t forget about you, kicking inside of me (Probably as a reaction to the amazing cheesecake I’m having). It’s hard to believe it’s only a matter of days before we finally meet! That is probably going to be THE moment of my life Because of that I’ve been full of worries in my head: Are you ok? Are you going to reach outside safely? Are you going to be healthy? Am I going to be the Mom you deserve?

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So for now it feels good just to be here: me, you, us. Just enjoying the cheesecake and occupying this once blank page. The world carries on, but for this once I just stop and stare. No distractions (no e-mail, no social medial). That’s right, to make the most of it all I have is pen and paper – and a big window in front of me. I can also stop and just imagine what the other people are doing. There are 2 other people in the room with me, both of them with their own computers. I used to play a game while I was in public transport trying to read people’s minds and creating stories behind their lives. You don’t even notice time goes by. Now I tend to do what everyone else does, which is to stare at stuff on my phone and occasionally read. I miss a bit of the old days, so let’s try to play it again.
The guy on the right and side of the window seems to be a programmer or a web designer doing some work. He looks really quiet actually. He’s probably used to work from places like this, feels somehow better than to work from home. Less lonely I guess, even if you’re not interacting with anyone. Also in London not many people have the luxury of space for an office.
I would probably fancy finding such a job, that would allow me to work from everywhere. Today this lovely cafe, tomorrow maybe sitting in front of the river. That would be quite a creative boost wouldn’t it?
The lady on my left working with a mac I suspect is a creative of some sort. She’s also quite young (not even sure if she’s even 20!). She just ordered another round of coffee. Probably she’s working at a startup in the marketing or fashion industry. She looks the type that could easily be a blogger and actually be working as such (yap, nowadays being a blogger can be a profession as well).
I have a blog too but I use it mostly to share photos and thoughts. Doubt I could ever make a life out of it.
Next to the counter people are chatting and socialising, but my attention keeps getting drawn to these two silently working from different corners of the room.
Would they actually benefit from talking to each other? I suspect so, but that would be awkward for them I guess, because at first glance, aside from both working from the same space they don’t seem to have anything in common. Also I guess in their heads there’s also an invisible cube around them. It doesn’t matter who else is in the room, who comes or goes. The chatter in the counter doesn’t seem to bother them either – I guess the same way it doesn’t bother me either.
Uh…. just realise my cheesecake is almost gone! It’s really good (one can’t resist happy calories, I surely can’t). I wish I could bake like this! Although I’m certainly improving. The brownies we’ve baked over the weekend were really good and my scones tend to make my friends smile (baby I suspect you will like them as well).
Shall we have the last bit of cheesecake? Let’s do it… and that’s it, gone. Now I’m staring at the plate with nostalgia, when the cheesecake was still there. While the last sweet sensation from the cheesecake goes down, you’re kicking (you recognise the sweet taste don’t you?).
I stop to admire the lights in the room as well as my real life telly (I mean the big window) of people coming and going outside. I’m also starting to feel I need a bit of a break because I’m not used to write this long in pen & paper anymore (need to train my hands on that old school process again). While that, I look at the newcomers, a mom and 2 really well behaved kids. They are quietly enjoying their cake and fresh milk. I’m sure our 2 workers are as impressed as me, as probably they thought that they would be disturbed. They haven’t. Although I suspect a bit of distraction would be a good welcome break to whatever they are doing. Ah, guess I was right, as he got up and he’s looking through the window outside. A mini break before getting back to work. Isn’t it amazing how small little breaks can be such a productivity boost? Which reminds me of an interesting paper I wrote back at uni (we were tasked with interview people and explore around the breaks they did at work and how that affected their productivity). I definitely miss writing. But as soon as I would have the pressure to write to meet deadlines that’s it, all the worlds would take holiday from me and vanish somewhere else. So I guess that’s not something I will be doing either. Just stick to blogging when the words come even if no one else reads it.
There’s a newcomer in the room, a nice guy and a dog. Yap, I know, I’m already assuming he’s a nice guy. But you can actually judge people by the way they treat animals. He’s caressing the dog and the dog seems so happy. I’m seriously smiling as it’s such a tender moment happening right in front of me. Mr worker seems to have noticed as well and he’s smiling, while the young lady is still striking back her keyboard completely distracted of what goes around her. I’m happy I’ve noticed and that I’m actually here right now to see it. Dog seems happy and so am I. Happy that I left the house and the distractions to appreciate moments like this.
I have no idea how long I have been here. I didn’t checked time when I arrived and certainly not checking it now either, but it feels time to go for a walk and stretch my legs a little bit.
The luxury of time does indeed wonders . I feel absolutely peaceful and free from any worries. It doesn’t matter what happens next but I’m just happy that I’ve stopped the clock and just came to my once cheesecake and blank page.

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.: More random thoughts :.

If there’s a thought there’s been in my head for a while is how to live more and worry less. We’ve all seen the latest trends: minimalism, declutter, meditation but somehow it seems a lot easier said than done.
I have started meditation back in May and have been doing it daily ever since (I don’t regret it at all). It feels liberating to take 10/15m out of your time to try not to think about anything. Not the past, not the future, just being there and learning to breathe too. A bit later started yoga, which I’m planning to go back into as soon as I have the chance as well.
But, there’s one thing that still bothers me, and that’s the constant worries, that sense I could be doing so much more out of my life than I’m actually doing. That constant sense that somehow I’ve lost the real me, or even worst, that I don’t even know who the real me is. Life for me is changing, for sure, the biggest change of them all and I guess that will force me to look myself in the mirror and try to understand: where next? What is really really important.
Should I carry on my life as it is? Am I feeling fulfilled with what I’m doing? Probably not, but from this moment on I can’t also just leave it all behind be crazy and start something new. Responsibilities and commitments are about to change. But surely, something can still be done. Can I find the right balance and wake up every morning feeling calm knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing?
This must be the billion dollar question that all of us try to answer. The other day I was talking about this with a friend. I was saying that most of us talk a lot of time about work, it tends to be to complain about it. And then there are those, like my sister who talk about their work and feel excitement, feel passion as if they are doing the right job in that moment in time. I take job and commitment way too seriously and it’s really easy to let it control me and take priority over everything else. I miss the days when I used to feel creative and having time to wonder and just enjoy the things around me, without this constant worry to follow me as a shadow.
If you read what I’ve been doing the past few years you’ll easily notice the trend. I know for a while now I need to chance, except I haven’t yet figure out what. So I carry on, with the stuff I know, not daring, not stopping to look around. I still hope that the answer will come magically knocking on my door, but then again I was never one to trust luck. I guess it could help if I focus in what I know I like and move from there, step by step and try to discard everything else I know I don’t enjoy either. Like a brain declutter ultimately. Probably I should try to do one of those spiritual breakaways, which I kinda experienced last year over a long weekend in lake district. It was so beautiful around me, so relaxing, I just felt like walking slowly and enjoy the beauty around me. It made me realise I really need more moments like that, and they shouldn’t resume to just be over the holidays. Somehow I should be ensuring that I have more moments like that continuously during the week. Or maybe I just need to ensure I just relax more and let everything happen. Rather than keep on trying to find solutions let myself relax and let the solutions pop up in my head while I’m doing something I enjoy, let’s say while listening to music and enjoying the sun on my face or just feeling the wind in my face. Maybe and only maybe the key for finding the solution is to stop searching for it. Maybe and only maybe I’ll start to feel the weight on my shoulders reduce and feel that it can be ok to just wait and try to find a way of making each day matter, at my own rhythm, at my own pace. Maybe and only maybe, when I’m least expecting, I’ll discover all the things I’m searching for are just standing here, by my side waiting for me to grab them and hold them.

.: Who do you want to be? :.

“If you could be anyone today who would you choose to be? Would you be doing exactly the same things as right now? Why is this a question we only ask ourselves when something really drastic happens in our life?
What if we stop waiting for the turning point and stop the clock right now. Imagine you have a magic clock in your hand and with the turn of the engine you could be anything? What would you be? Would you be a musician? A bailarina? A creative? For a small group of us out there we would rather say: at this point in time I am what I want to be, no change required. For most of us though, that endless door of possibilities is a fiction book we are only allowed to read once in a while in our dreams. But we barely read it so every time we do it we have to start again. What happens with our lives that we just let go of all possibilities and we no longer there. Someone would point out that it’s part of growing up and having responsibilities, that we can’t have everything.
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Deep inside I feel like Peter Pan and refusing to grow up and still feeling that little star within me that keeps on whispering it’s never to late why don’t you try it out? Then the rational side of me says if that was that easy…  You don’t ever know what you want, so just go back to what you know and stick with it until you’re sure. But will I ever be sure?
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a lawyer because I used to believe I could make a difference to people. That soon disappeared from my mind. Then I  don’t think I had any further wishes and was always wondering what I wanted to be. Used to spend hours writing. Oh I loved writing. Would let my feelings guide my pen and just feeling free. Maybe in those pages I could be a hero and be doing all the things I wouldn’t ever dare to dream. Then I would draw stuff although I don’t think I was that good at it, so went back to writing. At that point I was a teenager and had lots of emotions flowing through my veins. There was this constant search for love. A love I felt it would never come. Had no other wish back then but to be loved. I was quite the classical dramatic and emotional teenager. One day I found love but that was at the same time as growing up. Start to work, pay the bills and follow up routine like everyone else. Throughout the years though I always felt that a part of me was missing. That my creative side had felt into a black hole and ever since I’ve been trying to find it. I know its within me somewhere and I hope that by finding it I’ll finally find the answer to who would I be if I could be anyone tomorrow?”

.: My headspace :.

Ah is there anything better than a long weekend? I went to South Wales on this one, which I find is one of the best places in UK to slow down and relax surrounded by all the green scenery. For instance I love Lake District a lot, but it just takes forever to get there, especially if we’re talking about a long weekend! I’m hoping to be back at some stage, in any random weekend to spend a few days there. South Wales is a much easier option as it’s just 2h15 from London (or 3h and a bit with the traffic on a long weekend).

The point of a weekend away tends to be to relax, and starting the weekend stuck in 6h queues isn’t a great start. Finally one that was far more relaxing! We’ve managed to reach the hotel for dinner at 08h! I will be sharing the photos of the hotel and the weekend on my other blog here

What I really want to stay is that I took this weekend to turn a page in my book of live and to learn to let it go. I’ve been way too stressed lately. A month ago I ended up crying on my way home after leaving the office due to the stress and frustration. Maybe I can blame it on the hormones, but… this not the way anyone should live. Not worth it as everyone around me says, especially not now. I’ve been having all my priorities all wrong (I’ve been saying this for a while, have I not?)

Recommended by a friend I’m now doing daily meditation (using Headspace), reading a book about it and just joined yoga classes that will start in June. I do want to change for real, taking the train of the biggest change ever! I want to look back and say:

“I was doing it all wrong, but now it’s better. I’ve managed to change and I feel a lot better. I feel that for once I can grab life with both hands rather than feel it keeps on escaping through my fingers like water drops.”

The truth is I’ve just arrived home and I feel so much better! Just 2 days away and I feel almost brand new. The full test of fire will be once I’m back into the office, but for now I’ll enjoy it, peacefully.

About Headspace (Disclaimer: I’m not being sponsored at all for this post, it’s a genuine review as I really enjoy the program and the design of the app)
Headspace is a really lovely animated app that you can use on your computer and phone, with tailored programs for meditation. I’m still using the free program, which includes a 10 days guide for beginners.

For more information check their website or app.

Which relaxation techniques do you use to handle a stressful life? Anything you would recommend?

.: Life needs more chocolate :.

Over the last few weeks, with my working life going way too stressful then what I needed, I’ve discovered a new meaning for happy calories. I tend to use this term referring to food – any guilty pleasure of yours – which for me is without a doubt chocolate. But, it also means enjoying the things you love and learning how to prioritise.

It’s very easy to get all emotional and take things over a new level when you care about the work you deliver, but the main point is to ensure that you stop and think: “is this really worth it? Am I not taking it more seriously than I should?”. I bet the answer will most likely be: yes!

Enjoy life as it needs to be enjoyed, by treasuring every little moment

We’ve just spend the afternoon playing board games

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Our football team just won the championship and we were sharing chocolates together. This truffles in particular are quite amazing! (This was a gift from a secret santa at work). I had never tried Monty Bojangles before, but will pay attention from now on!

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Cheers to a life with more happy calories (I’ll try to remember these words as the week goes by!)

.: The precious gift of time :.

Is there something so precious as time? Especially nowadays where we are constantly being interrupted by social media, by e-mails, by notifications. At work, I’m always running between meetings and to do list and then all those e-mails I haven’t read yet. The spinning wheel feels like a 24/7 gymn. It never stops moving and you have to keep on following.

So if you ask me what do you want to do on the weekends or on my holidays, I would simply say do nothing. But reality is, this doesn’t really happen. Even if I have a lazy couch day, I keep on using my computer most of the time to carry on with my personal tasks on the to do list, and then procrastinating with more notifications.

I find the Christmas holidays are the best holidays to actually stop the clock and simply enjoy. A walk outside, or maybe watch the sunset or even the sunrise. Walk along the neighbourhood, stop at the local coffee shop, sit down and read a book. It feels the best gift I could ask for. Not checking time, phone on my bag, not caring about anything else just the pleasure of doing what I really like and focus on it, reading a book. When was the last time I’ve actually done it (not counting on travel time) and just decided that’s what I was going to do. I didn’t even realise it was already nightfall, because I was so immerse on the story it didn’t matter, only the next page.

I leave with a smile and with a feeling of accomplishment, because for once the clock wasn’t ticking – or I didn’t care about it. For once, I had the gift of time.

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.: Saudade on the clouds :.

Just arrived back home from Christmas with my family and I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to share this words, nor was I expecting all the emotions that suddenly hit me as I was taking off. My dad loves planes and as kids we used to go near the airport, watching the sea and watch the planes take off. After more than 1h delay, as the plane was preparing to take off, I suddenly remembered that they were probably outside, waiting for my plane to take off. This is when, without notice I had tears falling down from my face which I couldn’t explain. Decided to use my phone and write it down just to help me out understand what was going on:

I surely wasn’t expecting but before I realised, as the plane was swiftly taking off I had tears falling down from my eyes. A word that only we know… saudade… It strikes me that the life I once had and knew is long gone. As time goes on that feeling goes even deeper and I suddenly realise I’ve been missing them for so long. How little things can mean something so strong to you. A hug, a smile or having breakfast all together as nothing had ever changed. I had no idea I missed it that badly until it hit me. I had no idea how much it meant until I realise I couldn’t have it all back. Maybe this is what it means to get older, you become more nostalgic. 

As the sun dries my tears I cherish the moment and the memory with the hope I will be able to revive it once more…

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.: A few thoughts :.

While logging on my computer last Friday to give my sister happy birthday, I noticed all that was going on. In fact it was my dad that told me first and I was shocked. I was just near the 9/11 memorial a few hours before. I was disturbed, couldn’t let the news go to understand what was going on. Apart from the question of why, my thought is for how long will this carry on until something is done? How can these criminals keep on escaping?

I could write tons of words about the subject, but I’ll just share a few thoughts:

We need to stop political correctness, yes that’s right we do. We need to say things as they are and acting accordingly rather than hold our words because someone might perceive them as incorrect or “hurting someone’s feelings”. The media doesn’t help here either. It’s very easy for someone to be labelled as racist or xenophobe.

What do I mean by that? Because everyone makes us feel guilty for saying what comes to our mind we don’t say it and we keep doing and acting according to what society wants us to do. Freedom of speech is quite a powerful tool. And by that, I mean we’ve been doing a big mistake by just open the doors for everyone to enter without any proper checks. And this is the key thing, no checks have been done so anyone, people that need and people that are aiming to do wrong things and arm us are getting in all in the same boat. This is already bad because then innocent people are labelled as all the same. The best way for us to help is to stop the money flow, stop buying oil from those countries, stop financing them guns. Ah, but this is not politically accepted is it? And yes western societies have the obligation to protect other nations and ensure everyone has the right to freedom and safety. These principles have no race, colour or religion.

I have friends from all different nationalities and backgrounds and none of them labels themselves by their religion first, they have first a name, then a country only then come their religious believes. Their society values are the most important thing for them.

Second, stop hypocrisy. A lot of people just write safely sited in their couch oh yeah let anyone in otherwise you’re a racist. Are you going to live in the middle of some groups? I can tell you there are areas in London where I simply refuse to go as a lady because I’m afraid. Would I live next to them? Absolutely not. I already lived in an weird area before and after dark I was always afraid. I heard shot guns outside our flat before, it was scary. So all very nice of you to say welcome everyone when you’re not the one living next to them. In UK in particular we have quite a big problem with so many extremist views from different places, sometimes I wonder if this a self-timing bomb. Kids in the schools are being radicalised. There are schools for women only and probably some of them are not even allowed to come out to the street. This is Europe, freedom please for all. Some places in the world treat women below animals and yet they come to the Western countries and they want to keep on doing the same. Moreover, they are very keen on force their own laws here. The day that happens I’m out. But at least I’m honest about it.

Because of point nr 1, political correctness, there’s not enough controls and we can’t give people the freedom and the safety everyone should have. So say yes to everyone who just wants a better life and wants to respect and live by freedom and safety and don’t be afraid to say no for those that are not keen to live by those.

“In Rome, be a roman”

Further read: Theresa May’s views on extremists 

Anything you would like to share? What are your views on the topic?

.: No more waiting :.

So many things left unsaid
So many dreams left undone
And you wait, you keep on waiting for the right time
The right time to say I love you
The right time to say I miss you
But the right time never comes and you wait
You wait for the rain to stop falling
You wait for the sun to shine again
You wait for warmer days
And then it feels you wait for ever
And the opportunity escapes through your fingers
But what if one day you would stop waiting and would open the door and go
If you pack your bag and follow the road you never tried before
What if one day there’s no more excuse to keep on waiting and you’ll just go
And sing in the rain
Cherish that moment when freedom is all you need
And you will run with your bare feet on the water
And you will hug those you love and say it there and then
“Why did I had to wait for so long?”
– Welcome back my old friend, I’m glad we’re all together again!
Suddenly nothing else will matter
Just living, just daring to do
When the dreams become a reality that you can hold
When every moment along the way matters
What are you waiting for?