2015

Happy New Year everyone! We are about 40 hours in – how’s it treating you so far? I have spent it catching up with excellent friends, curling up on the sofa at my mum and dad’s, and making time to really think about the things I wanted to achieve this year.

I decided a couple of years ago not to do new year’s resolutions any more, and instead set myself goals, things to work for. Sometimes they’re small and seemingly silly (one of last year’s was “make a pie”…) but they’re all little achievements, things that make me smile, stand back and say, “I did that!”. And more often than not, post a picture of it on instagram.

My most recent stand back and smile moment? Having my family up for Christmas. And it being exactly the day I wanted – relaxed, fun and full of food.

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Drastic behavioural U-turns just don’t work; you just feel restricted, making you less likely to keep your good intentions up, and beat yourself up if you crack. Not a healthy way to be. And if there’s something the last couple of months have taught me, it’s not to take your health for granted.

And a big part of your health? Being happy. A few things happened in short succession at the end of 2014 that showed me just how important that is. Why waste your life on things that make you miserable? It’s way, way too short.

With that in mind, my aim for this year is to be the person I want to be. To do more of the things that make me happy, and that make me, me.

Firstly, writing. I am a writer at heart, but any actual writing seems to have gone out the window over the last few months. And I’ve barely picked up a book this past year. I haven’t finished one since August. What happened there? That isn’t me.

Secondly, nourishing myself, body and spirit. I started to get quite into nutrition while I was training for the Great South Run, and I’m hoping my new Christmas pressie (which I’ve finally had time to read!) will give me some more inspiration. And hopefully allow me to continue to capitalise on my 2014 avocado obsession.

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I’ve also got a copy of I Quit Sugar in the post, and have developed something of a Deliciously Ella obsession in the past few months. Don’t get me wrong, I still did a shedload of Christmas baking – and very much enjoyed eating it! But it’s about balance. The things we put into our bodies matter, and I want to fill up on things that make me feel good. Most days that will be a ginormous veg-packed salad, but hey, when did a gingerbread man ever make anyone sad? And when you mostly eat the former, there’s plenty of room for the latter. I’m already a pretty healthy eater, but could do with some new advice and ideas, so I’m going to try and make one new recipe each week… and see how different I feel.

It’s also partly running fuel. This is going to be the year that I finally do the half marathon that my back injury stopped me from doing in the summer. I’ve been back at spinning and have started circuit training – which I thought would be like a horrendous year 9 PE flashback but am in fact absolutely loving! – to make my back stronger. The Great North Run Ballot opens tomorrow morning. Eek.

Spending more time with friends is another important part of my new nourish-me plans. Time spent with the people we love is a powerful, restorative thing. It makes me happy. And stops me worrying that I haven’t seen someone, that something may have happened to them, that they may be going through something horrible and I Didn’t Know. Which will in turn make me happier. I’m going to plan more visits and make more time.

Time for myself is on there too. I feel like I am always on the go, always writing lists, making a plan, always on my phone. While Christmas was brilliant, it’s been so good to just r-e-l-a-x for a couple of days, take stock and clear my head a bit. How do you know what you want to do if you’re too busy doing things all the time? I like the idea of mindfulness. “Life gets so busy” and “life gets in the way” are two refrains I’ve heard a lot, and said a lot, this year. Sometimes I need to just… pause for a bit.

And just… be more me again. Sometimes we can get carried away with what we think we should be doing, now or next, and I feel like if I don’t make some changes, I could wake up in 20 years time and realise, that wasn’t what I wanted. I have a good feeling about 2015, though. This is going to be my year. I hope it’s yours too.

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Time flies

This time last year (well, give or take a few hours – never did get my head around that time difference), I was here:

Not a bad view, I’ll think you’ll agree! And the number one thing ticked off my bucket list.

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Last weekend, I ticked off another – I climbed Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, on a long-planned long weekend with Mum.

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Mum didn’t make it quite to the top, but it does get pretty scrambly (I have no idea what route we took – we were just kind of following random trails. And joggers.) And she is 64.

Anyway, I guess the lesson is, a year makes a big difference – but not that much difference. A lot has changed since we got back, but not everything has. And some things have changed for the better. I definitely feel like I’ve moved onward and upward, even if by not quite as much as I thought I would have by now. The important thing is to just keep climbing.

Oh hi!

Oh hi!

Me again. Long time no see. How’s things?

I did warn you things might go a little quiet – but admittedly, it’s been too quiet for too long. Way too long. I’ve missed you.

So many times in the last few months I’ve started drafting my “first post back” in my head. But then I’d get caught up in something and it wouldn’t get written.

And then something else would happen, and I’d wish I’d have filled you in on the first thing first, because then everything would be written down. Then you’d know everything. Rather than me backtracking, giving an overview, filling you in on everything as if they’re just bullet points, when each thing was, at the time, A Thing.

Like how I started a new job, and my life got super busy. And Rob started a job too – The Job.

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And we moved into a gorgeous new flat, which I cannot tell you how much I love!

My best friend got married.

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(And I got serious wedding fatigue… when the only person actually putting any pressure on me was, er, myself).

We went on holiday to Cornwall. And stuffed ourselves silly at Rick Stein’s ❤

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I booked a holiday to Edinburgh with Mrs T – nearly five years after we first started talking about going.

I developed a small obsession with avocado on toast… With cherry toms, with lemon, with black pepper. Preferably on the toasted rye bread we bought from Riverside Market on Sunday. Nom.

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I signed up to, and pulled out of, the Great South Run. While I learnt that I could run five miles, I also learnt that that niggle in my back I’ve had for the last few months? It was a prolapsed disc. Yep. Ouch. But I’ve signed up for the Great North Run next year.

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It’s not all been jolly jolly. I’ve had some pretty low moments over the last few months, heck, even the last few weeks. Pulling out of the run left me really, really bummed – I was so enjoying the training, and how fit and strong I felt. Running a half marathon was one of my new year’s resolutions, but when I chickened out of that, and this 10-miler the day before my birthday popped up, I felt like it was a sign.

In the same day last week, I had some frankly horrible news, followed two hours later by some really exciting news. How do you process those extremes of emotion in such a short space of time!? (Answer – you don’t; you come home, eat cheerios for tea, and then duck out of your spin class the next morning to go back to bed.) And all the time at the back of my mind, I knew how much better I would feel if I just wrote it down.

So here I am! Back, writing it all down. Properly, again. Because I’m a big believer in doing the things that are good for you, be that going for a five mile run (seriously, I was so proud of myself), or booking that girly weekend with your mum. Or eating avocado on toast.

I’ve missed you 🙂

Cooking lessons

During my last ever term at school, it was decided that to fully prepare us girls for the trials of university, we should have…. a cooking lesson. So for two hours one afternoon us sixth formers duly filed off the the Food Tech classroom and learnt some “basics”. Which contributed absolutely nothing to my uni cooking repertoire (think pasta, bagels and jaffa cakes – mmmm, jaffa cakes) but led to an incident which has since become an urban legend amongst my friends.

I cannot chop carrots. And no matter how far I come in my culinary abilities – and I’m about to cook a roast for 4, so I’m pretty good these days! – to that lot, I will never be able to chop carrots.

In my defence, the carrots were in smaller pieces by the end of it than when I started…. So I don’t actually know what I did wrong. But it was the cause of much mirth that day, and ever more.

Signing off to my friend Fi – who just to show how far we’ve come these days, gets Actual Married next weekend – and remarking on my dinner plans, she said, “You OK chopping those carrots?”.

That’s why I love my friends. We may get old, but some things never do.

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I realise I’ve been very sloppy here of late. And you’ll have to bear with me a couple of weeks – once aforementioned best-friend’s-wedding is sorted. Things are good though – very, very good, just very, very busy! So much for that peace and tranquility I was so sure I’d keep hold of post-Hong Kong. But fingers crossed it will all settle down soon. I miss this little writing and rambling space, so as soon as I can be I’ll be back with bells on, I promise!

100 Days: Sydney

It got to the point where we had to exclude Sydney from our ‘Top-5-places-we’ve-been-so-far’ countdowns, because it just won all of them.

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I arrived on the back of 5 hours sleep in 2 days, after 2 overnight flights in 4 days (who planned that?!), and it was raining. Raining. In Australia! Distinctly not what I ordered.

About an hour later? I was on a bus, grinning out the window at the raindrops, telling Rob “I WANT TO LIVE HERE.”

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Seriously. Put me on a plane. I’m applying for jobs at the moment and fighting the urge to just chuck CVs at every PR company there. Or just turn up. Australians are pretty straightforward people, maybe they’d appreciate me just dropping in?

I’ve already looked at visas.

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We’d found our favourite destination at only the second stop. I’ve spent a lot of time since then trying to work out why. I said in my last post that I focus on the feel of a place, and Sydney just… buzzed. It was exciting. And not in a London-esque, this-is-where-it-all-happens way, in a fresh and different but so much better way. I made a conscious decision not to romanticise it – to look at it objectively, but the only negative was that rain. It was clean, it was fun, there was so much character and personality. I loved how this big, central city was lined with independent stores and quirky cafes, not chain after chain after Starbucks after chain. And if I am objective, maybe I was just excited about some of the chain stores because I’d never seen them before. I have been known to get unnecessarily overexcited by foreign supermarkets. (“Look Rob! Look how big their tomatoes are!!”)

I’ve never been somewhere that I clicked with so instantly. It just felt right. Yep. This is it. True love!

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Maybe it’s because when I think of The Other Side Of The World, that picture is what I think of. Even though we were technically further from home in NZ and Fiji, to me sitting outside the Opera House just sums up how far I had travelled.

Australia is A Bit Like Britain, except…. it’s so much better! Sorry, Britain, I know you can’t help the weather (and as documented, it rains in Oz too). And it would be slightly weak reasoning for me to base my opinion of Sydney on nothing but “OMGSOSUNNY!”. But that sunshine has a magical effect. People are happier. People are outside more, which makes them even happier. People spend time in that sunshine with their friends and their families, doing things and being happy together. It does make a difference.

We met some friends for “dinner” and instead of a restaurant they took us for a surprise picnic in the Botanical Gardens. It’s where the locals go to watch the New Years fireworks, don’t you know. Picture how much more jolly and relaxed you are after a day in the park in the sunshine. Now imagine that, but all the time.

It’s Britain, without the bad stuff (faffy overpoliteness, terror of offending others, constant gloom, the Daily Mail), and with extra good stuff (culture, sense of humour, Tim Tams). I know everywhere has its problems, but I kind of liked Australia’s better than ours…!

Enough politics and comparisons. In short, Sydney rocks. We went to the Zoo (of course we went to the zoo…) and took far too many photos of Animals We Don’t Have At Home. Note: Tasmanian Devils are seriously cute. And teeny!

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See?

We went crab racing (hilarious), took a ferry out on the Bay, ran around the Opera House giftshop (tours sounded fascinating but pricey) and soaked up some history in the Rocks Museum. Oh, and did I mention I climbed the Bridge?

Don’t ask which bridge.

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That, dear friends, is me, 4th from the right. This was real bucket list territory. In fact, it was number 1 on mine. I’ve wanted to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge since the age of about 11. I was watching ‘Holiday’, with Craig Doyle (old school) and Jill Dando, and someone did it on there. I remember watching it, sat on the floor in our living room and just thinking …. “Wow.” And 14 years later, I was up there :-). It was just as breathtaking as I hoped it would be. Worth every minute of the 14 year wait. And – the last 2 on the left, an adorable Swedish couple, got engaged while we were at the top. So cute!

Then I climbed down again and ate an enormous bag of crisps on the bus home. Sweet chilli.

Isn’t it weird, the things from certain places that stick in our minds?

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My Oneworld365 blog about Sydney is here (scroll right down to the bottom). Apologies for getting the name of the Zoo wrong… I wrote it in Christchurch and clearly had NZ on the brain!

100 Days: Hong Kong

Waiting on the runway at Heathrow, we realised our trip was exactly 100 days long.

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First stop – Hong Kong!

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Extremely jetlagged and extremely overexcited, we had arrived! Hong Kong was a fantastic place to start the trip – different enough to feel we had definitely Gone Somewhere Else, but familiar enough that we could find a Starbucks fix when our hostel told us we couldn’t check in for another 4 hours… The famous city smog also helped give it a really mysterious, other-worldly atmosphere.

This was the first big Asian city of the trip, and the one we would go on to compare the rest to. Rob can tell you about the sights and the history, but I always focus on the feel of a place. Hong Kong feels high-powered and futuristic, full of sharp suits and even sharper skyscrapers. There are walkways in the sky and everything is neon. And there are people everywhere – Kowloon, where we stayed, is the most densely populated place on the planet. It wasn’t so noticeable over the weekdays, but once it hit Saturday, you could really tell. That’s something I like about travelling; you are constantly reminded that you are just one of millions, and millions, and millions of people on this Earth, all of them going about their lives with no awareness of yours, and you have no awareness of theirs. It’s definitely not all about you!

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I will remember Hong Kong at night time. That’s when it really feels alive, rather than just a big city – when the neon lights up and the streets are still packed at midnight. We crowded the waterfront for the light show (a must-see, though not actually that impressive), spent hours weaving through the night markets and slurped noodles at teeny plastic tables. We also snuck into the world’s highest bar at the top of the Ritz Carlton, having been assured by our hostel that if you act like you know where you’re going, they’ll just assume you’re a guest. We felt incredibly scruffy – but it worked! And hey, posh people can be scruffy too, right?

I will also remember Hong Kong for getting hopelessly lost. Not while getting around – that was easy – but in shopping malls! You think you’re taking a short cut then 2 hours later, you’re still in there. They’re all indoors, they’re all absolutely spotless (as is everything in this city – I kept thinking how much they would hate the Tube), and they all have the same shops! It’s like some kind of never-ending hall of mirrors, with added Louis Vuitton handbags. Very confusing.

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Hong Kong mixes it up too, though – something we were about to learn was typical in Asia, smooshing the very very old right alongside the very very new. We took the incredible cable car ride (Note: people from Everywhere Else – it’s not a gondola, it’s a cable car!) up and over the mountains to the Big Buddah. While we were slightly disappointed (if not that surprised) to find a Subway at the top, the beautiful Buddhist monastery behind was one of my favourite places of the whole trip. Early on to make such a statement, I know! But the sense of peace I felt there was something I hadn’t ever really experienced before. I didn’t know a place full of so many people could feel so calm. That tranquility and certainty is something I hope to find again in the future.

But first, we had a plane to catch, and I had a bridge to climb. Next stop, Sydney!

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If you want to read the post I wrote for Oneworld365 about Hong Kong, you can find it here!

Touchdown!

Well well well. 100 days, 9 countries (10 if you count Wales – Rob is…) and one hell of a lot of photos later – we are HOOOOME!

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*disclaimer – Rob does have a tan, it’s just he’s standing next to me, so you can’t see it…

That photo was taken at Bangkok International Airport at 2pm on Wednesday, and a mere 25 hours later (!) I was strolling through my front door. The Big Flight itself was fine – we got Haagen Dazs with our tea (!!) and even managed to sleep for a bit. The worst part was the 5 hour wait at Hong Kong while waiting for our connection! But it was kind of nice to end the trip back where we started it. There is a special spot on the floor of Hong Kong airport (1st floor, by the Starbucks) that part of me will always call home. <3.

I’m still getting used to the fact that I can get drinking water from the tap, and not the 7-Eleven down the road, and occasionally have an urge to douse my hands in sanitiser gel, but I. Am. Home.

Two overriding thoughts on being back: 1) Britain is so QUIET… I spent 10 minutes trying to find my earplugs before I went to bed on Thursday, then realised “that weird noise” outside was… silence. And 2) Cheerios are the best thing ever. I would say “I’d forgotten how good Cheerios were”, but let’s face it, I hadn’t.

I’ve spent the last couple of days waking up at 4am, unpacking, and trying to remember that I no longer have to get maximum wear out of an item of clothing before it goes in the wash bin (ewww).

I have SO many photos and posts to come sharing a snapshot of my memories of each place, so stay tuned! Meanwhile you can of course read the blogs I wrote while I was out there for Oneworld365 – you may have already seen them if you follow me on Twitter.

Ahh. It’s good to be back. Did you miss me!?

A love letter to Cardiff

This evening, after nearly 6 years here, I started packing to leave Cardiff. And while my overriding thought was, “Why do I have so many clothes?!”, I have to admit, it’s emotional. This city has been many things to me, not least, for years now, my home.

Cardiff, I hated you when I got here. Naïve, terrified 18-year-old me did everything I could to spend as little time here as possible. I spent my first morning here on the phone to my mum, sobbing, hiding in my bathroom so my new flatmates wouldn’t hear me. I didn’t know anything or anyone here. The unfamiliarity, the rain, the scary new housemates, all these people so… different to everything and everyone I knew. I already had friends. I already had a home. Why cheat with this imposter?

My heart was back in Bournemouth, and so that’s where I was too, as often as I could be. After lectures finished on a Thursday I’d be on a train. I dread to think how many miles my mum clocked up on the road to the station and back – rainy Thursday nights we now reminisce about when we make the same journey. “Do you remember when I was in first year, and I hated Cardiff?…”

But gradually, I came to realise – home doesn’t stop just because you left. Home had started to move on. And at the same, sneaking pace, you began to lure me in too. Now my heart really was confused. Gradually, as the train pulled out of the station, my heart would give a little tug backwards. I’d start to wonder what I was missing. A vintage fashion fair, one weekend. Wow, I thought. We don’t have those at home. I’ve never been to one of those before.

And gradually, I began to test it. Test the water, and test myself. Try not going home this weekend – just see. If it’s horrible (and part of me, rabbit-in-headlights, still expected it to be), you can go home next time, vindicated. You can shake your head in disbelief as you tell your mum, you just don’t understand how horrible it is. You can gesture around at the kitchen you grew up in; it’s not like here.

I tested it, and Cardiff, you passed. I stayed. It took months, but then you didn’t only grow on me, I began to revel in you. All this newness! So many opportunities – places, and people, and sights and sounds, tastes and jokes and moments – home began to look smaller. And stiller. As it should be. Now my heart was no longer trying to keep up with both Here and There, I could see them both for what they were. And what they are still.

And what are you, Cardiff? You are glorious. You are the place I met some of my truest, greatest friends. You are where I danced, throat sore from singing and cheeks sore from smiling. You are where I learnt so much – not just about what I was here to, but about myself. You are where I learnt how much I loved my subject; so much that my heart signed me up for a fourth year. You are where I achieved, from the smallest victories (my first attempts at home cooking) to the big ones, graduations, 10Ks and beyond.

You are where I started to make myself. To build the person I’m going to be and the life I’m going to have.

You are where I fell in love. With the person that is truly the other half of me, who has taught me more about myself and what I want out of life, and supported me to build that person and those dreams, than anyone I’ve met before. Without you, Cardiff, that wouldn’t have happened.

And now, with that person, I’m leaving. I’m not sure how long for. And even when we do come back, we’ll be on borrowed time. My heart knows I don’t want to be here forever. Because how would I know what else is out there, otherwise?  I want to try it, to test it and see. If I don’t like it, I can always come back.

Because thanks to you, Cardiff, I know now that moving on is a good thing. It’s a brave and right and wonderful thing. It’s nothing to be scared of. It’s what you do.

If we never moved forward, what would we have to look back on? Thanks to you, Cardiff, I have six whole years.

 

London calling

Kensington Gardens, you are so pretty at 9am ❤

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I spent the day in London last Thursday, though my mission (to collect our Vietnamese visas) was over by 9.30am! Is it me, or are Embassies… strange?! It was like going to someone’s house. Albeit a very, very nice house – this is Kensington after all.

They also have a way of making you feel strangely criminal. I’m the same when I go through airport security. I know I don’t have anything I shouldn’t have about my person (or in my luggage), but I still worry someone’s about to swoop down on me! I was waiting in quiet terror in the queue, telling myself my passport is all as it should be, that we had paid everything we should have, that I had an email in my hand telling me our applications had been accepted…  I swear I didn’t breathe until the guy put our passports in my hand. Then spent the entire day on edge, walking around London with both our passports in my handbag….! Not like we’re off anywhere any time soon… (at the time of writing we’re nearly down to single figures… oh my GAAAD).

I’d originally planned to wander round all the free museums, maybe pop to Harrods for a nose, get the least-crazily-priced coffee I could in their cafe and ring my mum to tell her what I’d just paid for a cappuccino… I’m such a tourist. *sigh*… I love London. I know Kensington is like the nicest part of London possible, but still. I like Camden too! And it was a beautiful day – crisp, sunny and clear.

I ended up spending the day with my little bro instead. He’s in his final year at Trinity College of Music, and I’d always felt like a bit of a lousy big sister for never having visited him there. In my defence, I have a full time job and little disposable income… But excuses excuses. I’m going away for 3 months, and a day in the sunshine running around beautiful old buildings with my favourite youngest brother is something I’m so glad I could have.

After a takeaway brekkies of Starbucks bircher muesli ( – sidebar – OMG. Bircher muesli. Things like this are why I want to live in London. Can you imagine casually rustling up some bircher muesli for breakfast in Barry Island? No.) next to the Elfin Oak in aforementioned pretty gardens, I jumped back on the train to meet Robert in Greenwich. Another gloriously pretty part of London! Found the little townhouse of my dreams in an estate agent’s window en route… £1.4 mil. Casual. 

Trinity is in the Old Royal Naval College, which you would probably recognise from, well, a whole load of films. Thor, The King’s Speech, Les Mis, the latest Pirates of the Carribean – which they filmed when Rob was in first year – all there! And if you saw it…. Oh my goodness. It’s breathtaking. I wandered through the globe-flanked gates just open-mouthed, exclaiming, “This is where you go to uni!?”…

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Certainly beats Cardiff’s battered old Humanities building!

I got to indulge my inner tourist on the way too – I’d never seen the Cutty Sark before!

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GAH. I freaking love London. I want that on my doorstep.

Robert showed me the Painted Hall (just incredible) and the Chapel, which is where they filmed that famous scene in Four Weddings with Rowan Atkinson as the blundering bishop. Then we tripped up and down all these winding staircases, opening doors in walls, trying to find an empty practice room to show me the view over the river – sadly not to be, but everywhere you walk you get little bursts and snatches of music. Flute, piano, violin… Lovely. It’s like you’re in some musician’s dream.

By then I was absolutely starving, so Robert showed me a little more of Greenwich on our quest for some lunch. A particular fave of his was a hot chocolate shop called Black Vanilla… Now Robert is the most sugary-chocolatey-sickly-sweet-toothed person I know, but even to a slightly more savoury beast like myself, it sounded amazing. I’m totally becoming a regular once I buy my £1.4mill Greenwich townhouse. Yessir.

We plumped for smoked chicken noodle soup and katsu curry from Greenwich market. I handed over £5.50 for mine, wondering amusedly how much the same is going to cost me in Penang…!

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I met some of his friends too – thanking one of them, Becky, for the frankly dangerously good peanut-butter-chocolate-squares she’d made the day before, which Robert had fed me on the train! He’d heard from Mum that I was stressed, and I have to agree with his cure. Peanutty salty chocolatey YES-ness. So I knew I’d like this Becky character. It was funny how many people knew I was his sister without me being introduced… We’ve always been the most similar of us 4!

I’m going to gloss over the part where it took me 7 hours to get home… There was an accident on the M4 – but at least I’d bought dinner before I got on the Megabus! Finally got off at 11pm, sleep deprived thanks to some drama students who would NOT. STOP. SINGING. At what age will it start being OK for me to start telling off teenagers!? I think I need to wait until I no longer look the same age as them.

So yes, ignore that part. Sunshine, peanut butter, and a London day with my little brother. Not a bad thing at all.

Panic at the desk-o

You know how in my last post I was all like, yeah we started freaking out about travelling, and then we wrote a big list, and now I feel loads better?

Ahaha. Hahahaha.

now panic

What is wrong with me!? I really, really want to start getting excited about this trip. Only having wanted to do it since, you know, forever. But every time I go near it in my mind I just get a big, heavy, ice cold wave of PANIIIIIIIIC!

Yesterday I had a real wobble. Ended up having a little cry on the phone to Mum and shooing Rob out of the room when he came in to get his glasses. Doesn’t everyone feel better after just having a little cry? If anything I was surprised I’d been able to keep a lid on it for that long.

I have to keep telling myself that rationally, by the end of this week, all the Big Stuff will be sorted. Done. Dusted. Bosh. Nay, not even that long, by the end of Thursday. Thursday lunchtime even, when the Vietnamese Embassy person has put our visas in my hand, and I then have an afternoon to kill in that there London town, only mildly panicking that between Starbucks and the Megabus someone will nick our passports.

Now, Wednesday evening / Thursday actually is going to be stressful. Having to travel 4 hours on a coach up to London, on a work night, to be up and out and the other side of London by 9.30am, to then wait around all day to spend 4 hours on a coach home is, I think anyone would agree, Not Fun. I tried to update my ipod on Saturday in order to help up the fun quotient, and promptly broke my laptop. … I know.

But I have to look at the rest of the stuff with my rational head on. This isn’t a head I wear often, I’ll admit it. I like to collect panic. I worry about one thing, then just start to list a whole load of other things to worry over too.

If I look at it the right way – an afternoon to kill in London? Amazing! I can go to all the free museums, sit in a coffee shop and people watch, find a bookshop to sit in and just read for 3 hours… I keep saying how much I’ve wanted to just STOP the past few weeks. Well, here’s my chance!

SO! Let’s rationalise. Worry number 2 – got my malaria tablets yesterday. The side effects are freaking me out. (Anyone else been on Doxycycline? Bring me your knowledge!). Rational head on – Surely better than getting malaria??

Worry number 3 – Asia is scary. What if we don’t know we’re being scammed? What if we get in a taxi and they just drive us somewhere and rob us? What if we get in a car crash because the driving is so bananas?

Rational head on – SALLY. THAT IS THE POINT OF GOING. This is not a comfort zone holiday. This is a chance to see the freakin’ world. If it wasn’t a bit scary, and unknown, and new and different and exotic…. wouldn’t it be a bit boring?

I had a lovely dinner with one of my best friends last week and she is very good at giving me a bit of “Just calm down and get a grip”. She went travelling on her own. For 4 months. Cut her foot open in Laos and spent 3 weeks in hospital in Thailand. And she was FINE!

We are not idiots. We will have each other. And we will have an amazing, amazing time.