Venezuela – My First Time in Latin America

4th January 2010 saw me take off from Heathrow for 3 months in Venezuela. Back then, we didn’t really have smartphones. Accessible wifi wasn’t really a thing. And when I wanted to call home, I used a phone. Like one plugged into the wall. Hard to believe that was five and a half years ago. It seems only fitting as, on the edge of turning 24, today I arrive back in Latin America for my third visit, to recap my first visit back when I was just 18.

The trip was my first ‘solo’ travel experience, and kicked off a 5 month gap year exploring Venezuela, New Zealand and Fiji. I went through a programme, the schedule including Spanish lessons, volunteer work and a 5 day trek up Roraima, a table top mountain in the South of the country. Our group became fast friends, as you often do when travelling, and we extended our trip for a few weeks independent travelling at the end.

So, the best bits. It’s hard to condense such an adventure down into 700 words and a few photos, but I’ll try.

Our ‘base’ was in the North of Venezuela in a little village called Playa Colorada. I’ll never forget the drive there, arrive under the spell of darkness and collapsing into the hammocks that were to become our beds to then wake up to a whole new beautiful world the next morning, so so different from just 24-hours previously.

Venezuela kayaking

We would kayak out to this little island where our beach clean-up project was based. One day we had dolphins swimming alongside us…

playa colorada restaurant venezuela

Halfway between the mainland and the islands was this beautiful little building. Apparently it used to be a restaurant but had long been derelict. There was just something about it that stole my heart…

playa colorada venezuela

In the mornings we’d walk the dogs up the nearby hill (whilst trying to avoid the entire village’s dogs coming along with us in the process).

Caripe Venezuela

Part of our project took us up into the mountainous area of Caripe, famous for its coffee and strawberries and cream.

Roraima Venezuela

We finished up the ‘organised’ section of our trip by driving hours and hours down to the South, where Brazil, British Guyana and Venezuela all meet, across dirt tracks and over steep rocks all to trek up this beauty, 3 days up and 2 days back. Clearly the first bit was flat and easy before the day long ascent up to the table top. Apparently, back in the day before it was explored people just to believe that dinosaurs still roamed around on-top, how mysterious…

Roraima Venezuela

crystal valley Roraima

Whilst we didn’t find any dinosaurs there were a couple of crystal valleys which were simply awe-striking. Sadly some are more sparse than others as people have stolen crystals from the national park to sell for profit, the park rangers now check your bags upon exit in an attempt to prevent this.

paragliding venezuela merida

rock climbing merida venezuela

Then we headed up by ourselves to Merída, pretty much the adventure capital of Venezuela. There was paragliding, bridge jumping, rock climbing, canyoning and plenty more.

Isla Margarita

Isla Margarita

Finally, we spent a few days on Isla Margarita, probably best described as Venezuela’s Ibiza. It was so ridiculously beautiful. We stayed in crazy cheap accommodation right on the coast, complete with white sand beaches lined with palm trees. We drank cocktails fresh from coconuts and revelled in the fact that there wasn’t a single British tourist to be found. The perfect ending to the most incredible trip.

Venezuela will always hold a special place in my heart. It kicked off my love for the beautifully crazy continent that is South America and my love for all things Latino. I ended up writing my undergraduate dissertation on the place, and Lord knows you’ve got to like something when choosing to write 12,000 words on it. It introduced me to the world of (semi) solo travel and for that I’ll be forever grateful. So often now Venezuela is overshadowed by politics and the atrocities we read about in the news. But really, it’s just an absolutely stunning country nestled on the edge of the Caribbean.

Have you ever been to Latin America? Have you done much solo/semi-solo travelling?

Rewind: June

Once again, summer has creeped up on us. I always find that there is a week around this time of year that I suddenly switch from whinging about the lack of warm weather to spending most of my day in an attractive sweaty mess. This time around, this change in seasons has brought with it the realisation that I leave for Argentina in two days. Seriously, what the? Two days until I fly across 3 continents (hello 10 hours in Miami) and plunge headfirst into winter.

Anyhow, enough about the future. Let’s take a look back at June.

Rewind June

Work Life

My aim for this month was to get all my ducks in a row with my dissertation planning before heading off to Buenos Aires. Well, they’re nearly there. I don’t feel quite as organised as I would like but, realistically, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I must admit though, I have been feeling quite overwhelmed as of late with the amount of work I have to do between now and September… eeek.

I also finished up my internship and was so touched by the goodbyes I received from everyone on my last day, complete with a card and beautiful bouquet of flowers. It just goes to show that if you work in the NGO/charity sector, you tend to be pretty bloody lovely.

Blogging

Hmmm. Not sure what to say about this one. I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated with my blogging lately and like I need to put a bit more work in to strengthen this little space I call home. More on that another time perhaps.

On the plus side, I’ve been appreciating the blogging community more than ever. To connect with people on the same wavelength as you on a regular basis is a wonderful feeling. Last Saturday we also had a little UK bloggers meet up in London. Queue a Wholefoods picnic in Regents park followed by cashew ice cream at Inspiral. I took a grand total of zero photos (evidently having too much fun) but big props to Cat for organising and the lovely Claire, Ceri, Anna, Mary, Lily, Laureen for coming along.

Thanks to Cat (via Anna) for the photo!

Fitness Shizzle

I have a plan for Great North Run! FINALLY. I spoke with my CrossFit coach and he gave me some great tips. I’m basically CrossFitting 3 times a week as usual, then with one long run and one interval session added on. Turns out interval sessions are nooooot fun. Seriously, do people enjoy these? Runners help!

The sticking to the plan hasn’t gone quite so well the past few weeks what with being in Geneva and then getting ill from overworking, again. But now I’m feeling back and raring to go!

I also got a new 1RM (one rep max) on my back squat at CrossFit on Friday which was a bit unexpected – 70kg, I’ve gone up 7.5kg since my last attempt so I was pretty chuffed with that. I know for many people 70kg is nothing but since I’m learning to quit comparing myself to other people I shall freely say I am proud of myself. Boom.

Self Love

I had a wonderful haircut at That Hair Place just down the road from me who happily sorted out my wonky hair. She also showed me just how bad it was, I am not impressed with the last place I must say. This one, however, is excellent. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area, plus they have coffee, tea, wine and beer. Enough said really.

At the start of the month I set the intention to stop berating myself so much and I think it might be working. I had a delicious moment at the end of my yoga class on Sunday afternoon where I was lying in shavasana and this feeling came over me that I am worthy. And I fully felt it and believed it. Worthy of this incredible life that I lead, worthy to enjoy myself and live, laugh and love to the very fullest. Now, to hold onto it!

Fun Stuff

Well June’s been a bit of a busy month…

London Heron Tower SkylineI headed up the Heron Tower for a last hurrah before bidding my beaut of a friend Haley farewell as she’s now gone back to the States.

Lake Geneva SunsetThere were adventures and learning in Geneva.

Cambridge blueI visited Cambridge for a conference and grabbed a quick lunch with Lottie to discuss wedding plans (hers, not mine…).

Royal Academy shoes

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Some of my family visited for the night and we got our culture on at the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. I’ve never been much of an art buff but I loved this. Much of the artwork has been created by the general public and it was great to see such a huge range of pieces on display. A must see!

Sunday brunchingI’ve also enjoyed soaking up as much of London as possible before saying goodbye to this city until August. There’s been so many adventures these past few weeks it’d be impossible to mention them all here, but I am grateful for every single one.

How was your June? Did summer spring up on you too?

3 Steps to Practice What You Preach

I just had a much needed pep talk from a friend of mine. Once again I find myself ill, exhausted, rather stressed out and slightly overworked. Sound familiar? Trust me, I’m so sick of getting sick.

Luckily (to some degree…) I know the culprit this time. Apparently getting up at 4am to catch a flight on a Sunday morning (after the downstairs flat has been partying till 3.45am) followed by a full on non-stop week of talks, meetings and late nights and then coming back to London to empty your flat ready for your impending departure to Argentina does that to you. Who knew?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I am so grateful to live this magical life. If I’m getting ill from being overexcited that I’m following my dream, things could definitely be worse.

Still, a little perspective is useful sometimes. On Tuesday I desperately wanted to go to CrossFit, whilst feeling like absolute crap. Logically? No way josé. In Pip logic? Let’s spend the morning debating about this, before having to be told it probably wasn’t the best idea (thanks Claudia).

In reality, I knew this already. Like so many chats with my friends, when the tables turn I need them to tell me the same things I say to them. Yet I know it.

practice what you preach

Step 1 – Step backwards, literally.

Start treating yourself like your best friend, or even a small child. Would you tell that person that they’re just being lazy and should keep on going? That that guy is worth it and will call one day? That they really should have figured life out already?

Or would you be kind to them? Would you say that it’s okay to take a step back sometimes, that they are worth more than someone else’s opinion, and that nobody really has life fully figured out?

Next time you catch yourself in critique mode, stop a second. Step out of yourself and look from the outside in. Pause. Take a deep breath. And start again.

Step 2 – Listen to your gut.

I don’t know about you but I have a multitude of thoughts constantly whizzing around in my head, all saying different things. As our lifestyles get busier and more hectic, this is an issue experienced by more and more people. It’s no wonder techniques such as mindfulness are on the rise.

With all these thoughts it can be a bloody nightmare to work out what the hell you’re really thinking. The solution? Quit listening to them. Any of them.

Instead, feel what your gut is saying. Your body’s natural instinct. Deep down the decision has already been made for you. This can be a bit tricky to do at first, but the more you practice the easier it gets. Honest.

Step 3 – Quit the pressure.

You’re not going to figure this stuff out overnight. I’ve been trying to figure this out for months years and it’s still a work in progress. Try and recognise the small improvements you’ve made in your conversations with yourself. For instance, I now know that although I still don’t seem to practice what I preach I am in fact now aware of my stress and why it has happened. I’m just working on the dealing with it side of things. Life is but a work in progress, and to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you practice what you preach? What would you add?

The Intimidation Factor in Geneva, Switzerland

Last week I spent six days in Geneva, Switzerland visiting the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights at the United Nations. Talk about an intimating structure.

So often we build up perceptions in our heads – be they of people, organisations, places, etc. – and they become this grandiose thing. We become intimidated by them as they seem more important, more intelligent, more ‘cool’, or just downright better than us. I guess originally this comes from a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence, if we were super confident we’d never experience this right? But I think it also stems from societal expectations, particularly our perceptions of a certain ‘type’ of people. I know that this is something I’ve been incredibly guilty of in the past.

When I went to Geneva last week, I had this image in my head of the UN. I’d read and written about it so many times. In my head it was this huge faceless institution, for want of a better word. So I didn’t really know what to expect when visiting to be honest.

I was surprised. I guess somewhat stupidly in hindsight. Turns out, the UN is made up of people. Yep, just people. Admittedly these are incredibly intelligent people but they are people all the same. As the week went on and we spoke to more staff, attended more talks and spent more time there, the barriers began to broke down. It became more human, because really that’s all we actually are. Human. That can be easy to forget sometimes.

Though I totally did have occasionally moments of thinking, “holy moly I’m IN THE UN!!!!!” *stay calm Pip, stay calm*. I styled it out, don’t worry.

Lake Geneva

Flying into Geneva I realised just how big the lake actually was… And I thought I’d be able to run around it. Rookie error indeed.

Lake Geneva Run

I did manage a run/jog on the Monday night however, and it was so needed. There were photo stops a plenty, and I do apologise to the random man swimming who has accidentally ended up on t’internet. My bad.

ICRC

As the week went on the weather brightened up, just in time for me to snap some ‘artistic’ photos at the International Committee of the Red Cross. The work they do is just amazing, some seriously inspirational people.

Serpentine Bar Lake Geneva UN

This is the view from the Serpentine Bar at the UN, where a lot of the diplomacy happens. It’s a pretty special place to sit and people watch I can tell you.

Geneva UN Meeting Room

 

The most scenic meeting room I have ever been in. How people concentrate in there I have no idea, it was just beautiful.

Lake Geneva Sunset

The last two nights we picnicked on Bains des Paquis, which juts out into the lake. Though we had to fend off a few swans it was a pretty perfect spot, and I even managed a couple of swims. Refreshing to say the least.

Geneva at night

An exhausting, exhilarating week. Just wow.

Have you even been to Geneva? Do you find yourself struggling with the intimidation factor?

From Above

#fromabove has become my favourite hashtag on Instagram as of late. There’s something about taking that different angle on the world, looking at it from a different perspective, that is incredibly refreshing. And rather beautiful too. I think maybe this is where my obsession with rooftops comes from. Put me somewhere up high with a good view and I’m bound to be a happy girl.

At the end of my Sunday yoga class, whilst in shavasana, I always have to imagine myself somewhere else to switch my mind off… Perhaps it comes as no surprise that my happy place lately has been picturing myself lying on a rooftop in Buenos Aires, up in silence but surrounded by noise and chaos below as the sun sinks below the horizon…

I think part of the appeal of rooftops for me is that you feel so part of the city below but also separate from it. You’re not completely alone but you’re not completely surrounded either. There’s that time and space to ponder, reflect, wonder and dream.

Last Friday, Haley and I treated ourselves to a night above London, at Sushi Samba in the Heron Tower. Any Londoner will know that this is slightly (an understatement…) pricey so it isn’t exactly a regular occurrence but since she heads back to the States soon (*sob*), definitely a necessary one.

In all honesty, we weren’t entirely sure if we were headed to Duck & Waffle or Sushi Samba as I forgot to specify at the lifts below (they have the same entrance) but we weren’t exactly complaining. Especially not when sipping cocktails to this view… I was more than happy to celebrate world gin day 24 hours early with an Eastern inspired concoction.

cocktails sushi samba

As the sun went down, the view just kept getting better and better…

London Heron Tower Skyline

As you can tell, it was rather a hazy day. But whilst London is fabulous in the sunshine, I feel dark moody and mysterious is far more fitting… Oh London you old flirt.

London Heron Tower Skyline

The cherry on the cake of an already wonderful night was Sim stopping by. It was our first time meeting, we were put in touch by Irene, a friend of mine from Argentina (originally from Canada) since Sim is a friend of her’s from back home who is interning over here for the summer. Slightly complicated connection but super fun, she instantly reminded me of Irene and it was a joy to meet her. I just love it when worlds collide, it just goes to show the magic of travel.

Of course, photos were needed.

Sushi SambaMe and Haley

Sushi Samba GirlsUS – UK – Canada represented.

Do you like to view things from above? Where have you travels taken you?

How to Survive When Life Gets Hectic

Between starting my masters in October time and mid-March I pretty much had non-stop deadlines. Other than Christmas Day and a quick little joint across the waters to Paris I don’t really remember taking any full days off work. No surprises that I was a bit of a tired mess. At the time I was struggling to make it to my three CrossFit classes per week, let alone do much else. Looking back? I can see just how stressed I was, even though I couldn’t see it at a time. Oh hindsight, you beauty.

Needless to say I learnt a fair few things along the way…

1.Remember your why

Why is your life so hectic in the first place? What is it that you are working towards? What’s your dream right now?

For me, it was (and still is) my masters. I wanted to achieve the best results possible in my degree, and to know that I had worked as hard as I possibly could with no regrets. The aim after this being that I want to pursue a career in Human Rights so I’m going to do all I can to get there. Remembering this really helped to motivate me when the going got tough. If your motivation is there, it will help carry you through.

2. Prioritise

Once you’ve got your ‘why’, you need to realise that other things might slip a little. That’s okay. You’ve chosen to prioritise your time and energy on ‘the why’ so there’s going to be less left for other areas of your life.

It took a long time for me to realise this one. I knew that my main focus was my masters but I still wanted to be smashing my goals at CrossFit, having a social life, etc etc. I’d compare myself to other people at the box who were improving faster than me, and I’d get bloody frustrated.

Then eventually the penny dropped. I was working towards my ‘why’, life couldn’t be perfect in all areas. I’m not superwoman and that’s okay.

3. Sleep

This is SO important. Without sleep you’re not going to achieve anything. Yes coffee will carry you through for a few days (believe me, I know) but after some time you’re going to need proper rest.

Cutting back on sleep may mean you have more time to work towards your goal but it sure as hell won’t be efficient time. A few extra hours in bed (my happy medium is 7-8 hours a night) and you will be so much more productive. Plus, trying to give a presentation on not enough sleep is no fun, especially when it rolls round to question time and you’ve got to think quick…

4. Take a bloody break

This follows on from the last point. I set myself the cut-off to finish work at 9pm every night. Sometimes (when a deadline was super close) I went over this but for the most part I stuck to it, and it meant I had an hour or so to relax before bed and switch my mind off. So so important.

Keep on doing the things you love, even if it’s a bit less of them. For me, this meant going to CrossFit when I could, running when I felt like it and still seeing my friends when I could. It’s all about finding the balance – working hard but also giving yourself enough of a break.

5. Be kind to yourself

Speaking of breaks… be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack.

I’m my own worst critic. If I haven’t achieved 100% then it isn’t good enough. Whilst I’m still working on this one, I’ve certainly gained some perspective these past few months. Whilst I’m all for chasing dreams, there’s no point driving yourself into the ground to get there. Nobody is going to die if you don’t do an extra hour’s work. I know, shocker right?

This hectic time is just a minute fraction of your life, don’t allow it to take over your whole being. When things get really hard I like to remember that I will never be in this moment again. I look around and find something joyful and soak it all up. Appreciate the crazy adventure that is your life, there’s always a little bit of sunshine to be found.

{Source}

Take a step back, do something that will make you smile and breathe. You can start again tomorrow.

How do you cope with stress? What’s been the most hectic period of your life?

Hey, it’s okay

Today I had wanted to post about how to survive when life get’s hectic, as I’ve learnt plenty over the past few months of crazy studying and work. But I’ve got too many thought spinning around in my head that it feels wrong not to share. There’s always that shiny blogger image portrayed across the interwebs, the image of the perfect life where everything is sorted. If you’ve been reading Cherries & Chisme for a while you’ll know that I’m not very shiny… I like to share the positive and highlights like anyone else, as I feel it’s so important to seek that in life. Yet, I also write about the not so rosey times too because I feel they should be spoken about, though by no means do I post my whole life up here. That’s fine for some people but it just ain’t me.

Anyhow.

hey it's okay ok

It’s okay…

…to question the way you eat.

Not too long ago I called myself a healthy living blogger. After much exploring I ate mostly paleo and I loved it, I felt amazing and the most energised I ever had. Today? I’m questioning it all, and it’s driving me kinda crazy. Ethically, I’m okay with eating meat. Environmentally, not so much. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I can understand the vegan lifestyle. (Oh my gosh am I even writing this? Who am I?!) Lauren writes beautifully and logically about it here.

A packet of two steaks is as polluting as driving 160 miles. I read this the other day when researching for an essay, and I was stopped in my tracks. WHAT?! Yes grass-fed, organic, la la la is all very well, and undoubtedly the best option if consuming meat, but the way our population is going it simply isn’t sustainable for all. We’ve only got one planet, and it’s changing fast and that scares me. Big time.

Yet, I feel best when I eat paleo. Though my conscience feels rubbish. What to do about it? I don’t know. Get back to me on that one.

It’s okay…

…to take a whole weekend off work (yes I realise how pathetic that sounds!).

This weekend I did no work. Absolutely zero. Apparently some office folks do it all the time.

Postgrad living means I have no set hours, I’m working 7 days a week and at all hours of the day. I love it, I can be flexible and live my life the way I choose. Yet I also want to do the best I can do, and this obviously means working rather a lot sometimes and working rather hard.

Yet, every so often I need to stop. Put the books down and be totally free. Though I did feel rather guilty, it was totally and utterly wonderful.

It’s okay…

…to still be figuring out what you want to do. I’m 24 next month, and most of my friends are settled in employment. I, on the other hand, have no clue what human rightsy job I’m going to do after I graduate in September. I want to work and be fulfilled, in what? Where? We’ll see.

It’s okay…

…to be a little apprehensive for the future. Next month I return to Buenos Aires to research for my dissertation and my biggest fear is that my Spanish won’t hold up. What happens if I put all this work in, travel all that way, only to be completely incommunicado? That would be a disaster.

It’s okay…

…to be fully aware that some of your fears are a little irrational. Life is a work in progress, that’s what makes it so magical.

Despite all this, I know that somehow it will be okay. It will work out. How, I don’t yet know. I just believe that it will.

What would you add? “It’s okay…”

5 London coffee shops perfect for studying

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a coffee lover. If you follow me on Instagram you’re bound to have seen many a coffee themed post. There’s something about the atmosphere of a coffee shop that I just adore. I can’t handle libraries, they’re far too quiet and people look at me crossly when I drop something. Put me in a good coffee shop, however, and I can work away for hours.

But not all coffee shops are created equal. Back in my Durham days I could always be founded typing away in Starbucks, now though I’m far more an independent girl and have Cat to thank for helping me tour the delights that London has to offer.

Timberyard

I was going to say this list was in no particular order but I can’t deny that Timberyard is pretty much my favourite. With two locations, one conveniently central near Leicester Square station and the other just a short walk away from Old Street in Shoreditch, it’s pretty darn perfect.

Timberyard almond milk iced latte

The whole ethos of Timberyard is “Tea, coffee, work and play. Re-imagined.” so they won’t get grouchy if you and your laptop while away the afternoon together. In fact, quite the contrary.

Timberyard almond milk latte cake study

The coffee is excellent with a choice of beans available (currently Jaberwocky and Climpson Estate last time I checked) and they serve almond milk, as well as a vast range of teas. Winner. Food wise there’s a range of sandwiches and lunchtime soup and salads, plus a whole load of treats and some are gluten-free.

Pip’s personal preference – almond milk latte with Climpson Estate

The Attendant

The Attendant has now opened its second branch in the heart of Shoreditch. The first is, strangely, a former Victorian toilet – which I am yet to try! But it’s their Shoreditch branch, that opened in April this year, which I have grown to love.

The Attendant jasmine green tea

With a fresh, clean cut design and space a plenty it’s the perfect place to curl up with some Caravan coffee (plus almond milk) and type away to your heart’s content. They also have the most amazing gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookie I have ever eaten. Seriously. If you’re after something a little more nutritious there’s a range of sandwiches and salads too.

The Attendant almond milk latte

The brunch menu keeps tempting me as well, though I’d expect that weekends are more of a social affair so it’d probably be a little rude to bring your work along then.

Pip’s personal preference – it’s a toss up between the jasmine green tea and almond milk latte

Coffee Works Project

Located in Angel, Coffee Works Project was one of my first ‘study cafés’ when I moved to London. It’s not the biggest place but with a communal table and window benches I’ve never failed to find a seat. It’s always pretty busy, and popular for takeaways, which creates a lively atmosphere.

Coffee Works Project Brownie

I cannot tell you how good the gluten-free brownies are here. Just, wow. There’s always at least two or three different varieties, from cheesecake brownies to dates and rosewater infused. Holy moly. For lunches there are also two daily salad specials, a soup and sandwiches.

Coffee Works Project Filter

Pip’s personal preference – black filter

Ace Hotel

Although technically a hotel, Ace has an ace (get it?) coffee shop attached to it’s front reception/lounge/bar area. I’ve been here both in the early morning for coffee and late at night for cocktails, and there’s always a collection of people working away.

Ace Hotel filter coffee

The wifi is quick, the caffeine is flowing and chilled background music spurs on the studying. It’s a funny atmosphere, the further back you go the darker the space seems which can feel a little odd when it’s a bright sunny day outside but it’s sure to stop you getting distracted! Plus, I’ve never felt rushed to leave which is always a bonus.

Ace Hotel Filter Coffee

Pip’s personal preference – black filter (it comes in a cute little jug)

Fix 126

Slightly different to the others on this list, which all have free unlimited access, the wifi at Fix is only available for an hour at a time – you have to ask for a code when ordering your drinks. I find this to be rather useful, however, as it can really help me churn out some writing without intermittently cruising the web.

Fix 126 iced almond milk latte

Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, the music here is rather loud but personally this is something I rather enjoy. Helped by the fact it’s good music! Best for a short and sharp study session.

Fix 126 almond milk hot chocolate

Pip’s personal preference – almond milk hot chocolate

Where do you best like to work/study? Are you a coffee shop addict fan?

Looking Forward: June

Well this is fun, I think I’m quite enjoying this goal malarky. It also helps that this month brings a lot to be excited about… one month today I fly to Buenos Aires!!! Holy moly, better get my life in order.

ducks in a row june

Work Life

The time has come to fully knuckle down on my dissertation. Here. We. Go.

I finish my internship on 10th June so I really want to make the most of my last four days there before getting to grips with having all my time focussed on uni work. I’m actually really looking forward to having more time to focus purely on my dissertation as it’s something I’m really passionate about (maybe that’s why I’ve decided to write 15,000 words on the subject… funny that) so I want it to be the best it can!

Plus, given that the whole reason I’m headed to Buenos Aires, contrary to the belief of many of my friends, is to conduct research for said dissertation I really want need to have all my ducks in a row before I go.

Blogging

I’m really happy with the way Cherries & Chisme is going to be honest, with all the changes of last month I’ve found myself thinking more and more about why I write on this little space, and what drives me on. I’ll save that for another post but it’s safe to say that I’m pretty content.

I’ve also been slowly trying to improve my photos… They’re still all iPhone shot (no budget for fancy cameras anytime soon) but just taking a bit more time to take the picture and thinking a little more about light and maybe props, etc. has actually been rather nice and not the fear inducing move I’d imagined. Slow and steady people.

Fitness Shizzle

Okay I really need to get myself in gear on this one. Great North Run is less than 16 weeks away and I still haven’t found myself a training plan that will fit in with CrossFit. Mainly because I haven’t tried hard enough to be honest… So there’s that. Aim? Start. A. Plan. Simples.

Self-Love

So it turns out my last haircut was wonky. One side is longer than the other, no joke. Never buy a haircut off Groupon. There’s a good looking hairdressers (the shop, not the staff… though they may be too) not too far from my house so I’m planning to head there before the month is out as I want my hair ready for summer bloody winter in Argentina.

Another aim is to stop berating myself so much. My big goal right now is my masters but I seem to forget this sometimes, particularly when at CrossFit. Instead I, once again, find myself comparing my achievements to those of the people around me, whether it be that they’re lifting heavier quicker than me or getting through a WOD faster. Quite frankly I’m pissing myself off. Once upon a time my training was the be all and end all of my life but it isn’t anymore. Instead I have some huge other stressors on my life which, pathetic as it may sound, affect my whole being and subsequently my physical recovery from workouts. I need to work on remembering that a bit better and quit putting so much pressure on myself.

Fun Stuff

So big things happening this month:

  • Study tour to Geneva, Switzerland to visit the United Nations
  • Move out of my flat ready to leave for Buenos Aires
  • Find a new place to live ready for my return from Buenos Aires
  • Get all my work ready for when I get to Buenos Aires
  • Start the job search and applications ready for post-masters

It’s going to be pretty busy. Totally awesome but busy. So between all this it’s going to be more important than ever to take some time out, be it blogging in a coffee shop with an almond latte (*ahem* totally not what I’m doing right now), finally using my massage voucher for Champneys or having an afternoon being completely and utterly unproductive. All equally important.

Here’s to an epic month! Maybe the sun will even come out and join us too.

What’s on the cards for you this month? Do you find yourself getting frustrated with your #gainz?

Rewind: May

Like oh em geee can you believe it’s nearly June already? Totallyyyyy, me neither.

*Ahem* jokes aside I can’t really believe how fast this month has gone, but also how much has happened! I blame the weird weather we’re having here in the UK, warm sunshine one day followed by rain and wooly jumpers the next. Confused? A tad.

Still, despite my questionable outfits May’s been rather awesome, so pour some tea and let’s rewind.

Rewind May Tea

 

Work Life

May saw me submit my final essay for my Masters, and also get the result back already. I’m pleased with the mark and know I did the best I could which is the main thing, though perfectionist me will never be fully happy with anything but 100% let’s be honest!

I also, somehow, survived my 24-hour 31-hour exam. Not an experience I intend to ever repeat but an experience nonetheless!

Blogging

As you’ve probably noticed (bit awkward if you haven’t) I went self-hosted and launched a new and improved Cherries & Chisme. With the clean cut blog design and change of approach I feel so pleased that this space is feeling more like ‘me’ again. It was also pretty satisfying to prove to myself that improvement can be made on a tight budget.

I also redid my about page, on which any feedback would be much appreciated as I always feel incredibly awkward writing those things.

Fitness Shizzle

I ran my first colour run a few weeks back with Kiah in Bath and it was super fun! Full recap can be found here, it was lovely to escape London for a little while.

I also still haven’t found, nor started a training plan for GNR. Best get on that really.

Self-Love

I’ve kept up (as much as I realistically ever will) with the ‘physical’ side of self-love things this month – my nails have been pretty neat, my hair is getting there and I am loving feeling good in myself and wearing jeans again. Never thought I’d see the day! I even got a whole load of freebees from Lush this week as I’m looking to experiment with different hair products in my quest for a totally natural beauty routine.

Mentally…let’s just say I’m getting there. Stress has got to me a bit this month and it’s been rather overwhelming at times, particularly this past week. Like I’ve said before I’m far better at managing stress than I ever have been but it’s still a work in progress, and I definitely notice it impacting on my tiredness levels. Progress not perfection right?

Fun Stuff

Well I nailed this in May! Although I’ve been working bloody hard there’s still been some much needed time out and I feel all the better for it. Whether it’s been catch-ups with friends, strolls home along the canal or trips out of London it’s all been rather awesome.

There were brunches a plenty…

Saturday brunch

A day trip to Cambridge

kings cross station

Colourful times in Bath

colour run run or dye bath

Bank holiday weekend in Yorkshire with old uni friends. I’ll spare you a full recap on that one but I will say the scenery was beautiful

Yorkshire

Oh and a flying visit home to see the family. Cue the coffee…

coffee bill's

So. much. travel. But all so worth it, each trip has been wonderful in it’s own way! It’s been amazing to explore Britain and really appreciate where I live. Yes I love travelling overseas but what’s on my doorstep is also pretty incredible. I can’t even decide my favourite, but then when have I ever been able to make a decision?!

What was the highlight of your May? Do you often take trips around Britain/your country?