Sunday, 15 January 2017

Have you seen this wizard?

There's nothing that can cheer a rainy Saturday up like a good pinch of magic. If you're in London any time between now and the 4th of February, you might want to make your way into Soho.

Graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima have both worked on all Harry Potter films and are displaying some of their art in this exhibition. Distributed over three floors plus a souvenir shop, this is a must see for any Potterhead out there.

Even the latest magical adventure is included.

It is impossible not to be catapulted into everything Hogwarts and Diagon Alley as soon as you walk in.

Some of the props are replicas, but some are actually loaned from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour (which I desperately want to visit again - it's been nearly three years!).

The second floor made me smile as soon as I stepped foot on it...

Yes, this is the floor! The Marauder's Map is actually my favourite prop - I wish I could've asked Mira & Eduardo all about it (follow them on social media to find out when they're visiting the shop to chat about all things Potter).

^ If only I'd had this when I was still teaching. This would've been a much cooler way to introduce the alphabet to the little ones!

Of course, you can't miss the Weasley corner (which is significantly more colourful!).

And if you ever wondered where your Hogwarts letter is... it might be stuck here?

I'd hoped one of them would be mine but sadly, none of them was.

One more floor to go! Let's take the stairs again, shall we?

I think the stairs/walls might've possibly been my favourite part of the whole exhibition. to be honest! If I ever have my own place to decorate...

Floor three is also a dream of black & white.

The exhibition runs until the 4th of February.

Find them at 26 Greek Street in Soho, open from 12pm - 7pm every day.
Free entry, and prepare to queue!

Mischief managed.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Out of 13 ways to success, 12 are too far.

In many aspects, I am not who I used to be. A normal development, for no one is the same person they were a year, a month, a day ago. Life shapes us like water does with rocks; the synergy of time and the ever changing curve of life.

Success / failure / insecurities
The first love / the last love
The first breakup / the worst breakup
It all takes away or adds

And then sometimes, as I walk along the path that remains, I find a hidden treasure. Buried in the ground, covered in dirt and sand. I dig deep, wiping away what's been burying the box for what I can only imagine must be forever.

What I reveal is myself.
Characteristics and personality traits I believed to be long gone; to have been gradually swept away by the rough tides that made so much chip away. And I realise - it has never been taken away irretrievably.

I had simply spent too much time with someone who was too trained in taking away who I was; to make me a dependant shadow of myself. Who split my soul into pieces and never told me where they hid them.

It has been 528 days.
2017 will be the year I find them all, and they will fit like a puzzle I thought I couldn't finish.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Today, I feel okay. (Or: how being an impatient perfectionist can ruin your life)

This is a very impromptu blog post. I did not think this through whatsoever, and I have promised myself to not look back on this as critically as I normally do - I am just going to write as the thoughts pop into my head (I think my degree ruined me a little in that sense; heck, I had to sit an exam in a module called 'Essay Writing'!).

The end of 2016 was not fun for me at all. I (more or less) briefly shared my worries and thoughts in this blog post, and considering I shared the low, I want to share the high. Or the medium.

I was going to call this post 'Today, I feel great.' but let's not push the boat out too far. Today is the first day I feel semi-human again, having been down with an illness for over a week now. It is the first time I put make up on and left the house, even if it was just to get some new Paracetamol and 54 new packs of tissues (approximately). As I was wrapped up warm in what felt like 47 layers, letting the sun shine on my face, breathing in fresh air and sipping on my Coffee, Oat & Banana Smoothie from Costa (meh... not worth trying), I thought to myself - I feel okay. Life is okay. 2017 will be okay.

Just before Christmas, I was exhausted. I was dissatisfied with everything - my living situation, my job, my appearance, my love life; everything. I was going to wind down, relax, not think about anything but also try to get a clear head for everything, and then I got ill. And I was not one step closer to figuring out what made me unhappy, and why.

Actually, that's not entirely true. Having had my dad here for almost two weeks opened my eyes to one thing I really need to change as soon as possible: my living situation. I don't want to put this on the internet and say why I don't like where I live, and it's not the end of the world, but it subconsciously made me feel uneasy. I didn't want to come home anymore, I didn't like spending time in this house and so it was very difficult to balance my dissatisfaction with work.

Come to think of it, work is not actually that bad. It's something else which made me feel unhappy with it: my impatient perfectionist self.

When I moved to London, I thought I had it all: the city I've always wanted to go back to, the job I'd always wanted, and consequently, the life I'd always wanted. Erm. Ok, naive little Lisa, you might want to get your head out of the clouds.
Creating the life I want takes time. I knew from the beginning that I wouldn't be able to afford my own place straight away. I moved into a houseshare, and now I am going to look for a different houseshare. But that's okay. Yes, I landed the job I'd always wanted, but it takes time to get used to it - it's something I've never done before and it's also my very first proper job. Rather than being proud of what I'd achieved, I focused on what I don't have (yet). Because I will always be a bloody perfectionist. And an impatient one at that.

I can afford a life in London at the age of 26. I landed a great job with a good salary right after uni. I feel so at home here, more than I have ever done in any other city/country. Some people don't even realise I'm not British, or haven't lived in the UK for long, because I fit in so well. Is that not something to be proud of?

I've been here for eight months (already or only - both apply, I find) and it took me that long to fully settle in. This is not some study year abroad I'm doing - I moved to a different country. It takes time. And again, I have to be a bit more patient with myself, and just see things from a different perspective.
I've been worrying about my finances, but really, they're okay. I'm really good with budgeting (thanks, Dad, I know you're reading this!) and my bank account is not going to look like it did back in Germany ever again. Because I now pay rent and bills and groceries and I also do that in London. I never live from paycheck to paycheck, I never have to worry if I can afford food or rent. And that is incredibly nice and makes me feel rather lucky.

More often than not, I feel like I'm running out of time. I'm 26 and have been single for nearly a year & a half, and as my friends are getting engaged and married left, right and centre, it is all too easy to feel pressured; to think that I've missed the window in which this could've happened to me. But their lives are so different from mine. Marriage and children is not something that would've fitted in my life plan so far, and that's okay. Rather than feeling pressured, I now solely focus on celebrating love with them (my favourite life event to celebrate!), and I shall attend their weddings being proud of and happy for them.

To summarise, for 2017, I am going to change my perspective. It is important to realise what bothers you and then have a good think: what do you want to change first, what is most important, and how do you want to do it? Chances are, if you change one thing, the other things don't seem as bad anymore. They most likely work together; intertwine. And I am going to count my blessings because there's a damn lot of them.

2017, I'll be good to you. Please be good to me, too.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

My Fuck budget 2017.

Sarah Knight's The life-changing magic of not giving a fuck has been all over the internet for a good while. I have never read it but the title sort of gives a hint as to what this is about. With Vix Meldrew's post, I learnt that my favourite activity - list making - is an essential part of creating your own 'fuck' budget: make a list for 'things', 'work', 'friends' and 'family' and decide where to give more fucks, and where to take a few away.

So here it goes...

More: Memories. I never document anything, or not enough, but this year I would like to make a scrapbook including all the memories I hope to make in 2017. (Even more so, I would love to make a highlight video but we'll see if I manage to get enough video clips together.)

Less: Finances. I am really good with budgeting and savings, however, I do tend to be very harsh on myself. I don't want to become reckless but allow myself the occasional takeaway without feeling like I've just ruined my entire life.

More: Positivity. There are a lot of negative, grumpy bugs in the office, and more often than I'd like to admit, I let them drag me down, too. This year, I am going to make a conscious effort to spread positivity and keep my sunny outlook even with storm clouds floating around me.

Less: Time off. Much like Vix, I never call in sick unless I'm actually half dead. In 2017, I want to listen to my body more and take time to recuperate before it's too late.

More: Compliments. I want to be even more open with my friends about how well they do, how proud I am of them and how much I cherish them.

Less: Criticism. Sometimes I get caught up in a knot of thoughts along the lines of 'omg, look what they said or didn't say here, they don't care about me at all', but hey, my friends are humans, too, and just because they did or didn't say what I wanted them to, doesn't mean they don't care. I tend to be very critical with myself but I don't want to let this transfer on to how I view my friends.

More: Appreciation. With me living in a different country to my family, I appreciate the time I spend with loved ones much more, and want to continue to do so.

Less: The Past. Things happened, people are weird, let's move on.

2017, I am ready for you.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

A rather honest life update (and why it will remain quiet on the blog for now).

Today is Thursday, the 10th of November. I am sat on my mum's sofa in Germany, and I am exhausted. The last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster, which I probably haven't quite comprehended yet. I've had some incredibly difficult family issues to deal with, someone in my family passed away, I have been full of worries and anxiety, I had to take time off work. Also, Donald Trump became the new POTUS.

The introduction above was supposed to be the start to my 'A reflection on 2016' post. Instead I've decided to use it for the possibly most honest and raw blog post I have ever written.

This is not planned in any way. I wasn't going to do this; to 'give up', as it translates in my mind. Quite frankly, I am not even sure where to start, so I'll just let my thoughts flow out as they come. As much as I want to be honest and open with you, there are still some aspects of this whole situation which just do not belong on the internet, so I hope you understand some secrecy and vagueness in places.

What's been happening?
Recently I went through an incredibly hard time. A family member of mine's health took a turn for the worse, I went back to Germany to support them & my family and ended up staying for a funeral. It all happened very quickly but the emotional rollercoaster I was on made my nerves extremely thin, affected my work and also my physical health. And along with that came a waterfall of negative emotions.

When I feel particularly low, I do two things: I stop eating and I start comparing myself to everyone.
'Comparison is the thief of joy' is something I truly believe in, however, when you feel unhappy and dissatisfied with life, it is very easy to get sucked into the endless depths of Instagram's Explore page. I start doubting my appearance, my personality, my life choices, my abilities. It gets difficult to get up in the morning because I don't want to get ready as I know I'll hate myself anyway. I see the dark circles under my eyes, my dry & dull skin, my lacklustre hair. I see my unfashionable outfits, my wide hips and my jiggly muffin tops. I witness my friends getting engaged & married, planning their children, and I wonder if I am ever going to get even near my dream of having a family. As much as I appreciate my work, during those times, I feel like I'm not doing a good job. I feel like I do more harm than good for the company, and my mind is occupied with worries and sorrows to the point where I have to concentrate and push myself to get even the tiniest of tasks done.

Concentrating gets hard when you don't eat. I lose my appetite when my life is, allegedly, going downhill and it makes me feel cold & shivery a lot. Most mornings I get a few tummy issues before being even remotely ready to eat anything. The few times I eat, I do try and have somewhat nutritious but also 'safe' food like fruit, nuts, pasta and chicken. I drink 2 litres of water anyway, and will add lots of green tea to it. But I can still feel myself being dizzy more quickly, less concentrated more quickly and overall not fully there.

What this means for the blog.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, my laptop had given up a while ago and I was going to ask for some money for my birthday to get a new one. Long story short, someone in my family was going to kindly gift me a new one, however, it was the same person I have already mentioned in this blog post, so it did not happen. I cannot afford to buy a new laptop at the minute, especially not after having had to book two flights and also re-scheduling one, which is all very pricey. So I am going to have to wait for Christmas and ask for money again. Let's pray that there won't be another unexpected death in the family.

This brings me on to my next point, which is being so extremely disappointed. I had planned to do a mixture of Blogmas & Vlogmas this year. There was going to be a new blog post every weekday and two vlogs every weekend, but without a laptop, there is nowhere I could edit either of these things on. I feel very disappointed in myself, as I was looking forward to pushing my 'online identity' to the next level. I was going to invest more time and energy into the blog, finally start a YouTube channel and use my social media sites more often and effectively. Alas, none of these things are going to happen for now.

I try very hard to be positive about it all. I tell myself that I will eventually get a new laptop and then I am going to put all of my plans into practice. But I was looking forward to using my most favourite time of the year, i.e. Christmas, to kick-start it all. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do, and none of them will work once we get into the new year. I fear that I have put it off for too long. I fear that a lot of things have taken me too long, being now in my 26th year of existence, and slowly feel like my time is running out. Even typing this gives me nervous shivers.

Of course, I could try to somehow work around it. Stay longer at work and write the posts from there, borrow someone else's laptop. I can practically hear people say, 'where there is a will, there is a way' but me being an utter perfectionist, I could not produce the content I want without having my own equipment to work on & with. I need to be able to write or edit a blog post whenever I want to, and will need time to learn the arts of video editing, in my own time. I am very excited for it but it does not work unless I have my own laptop to work on.

Long story short.
After all this rambling, there is not much left for me to say. The blog will remain quiet for a while, which I hope you understand. I also hope that, even in the new year, I can find motivation and inspiration to blog, vlog, snap, tweet and post.

'til then x