illustrated moment

making sense with words and pictures


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At the very beginning

I am late to the party as usual – typical – but HAPPY NEW YEAR my darlings!

2015 has sprinted into our lives and once again filled us all with the hope of a luckier and happier year to come. New beginnings have always been exciting – everything seems possible – the unwritten future invites you to reinvent yourself with each new day…okay, that’s enough poetry now.

The absolute truth is that a year is long and tiring. Drama happens, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, and the joys of success are at times blunted by sorrow and frustration. So when the a brand new year comes bounding into our lives like a Labrador puppy, we want to embrace it tight!

That feeling of anything can happen is wonderful – is it not? I’m so happy for you, wherever you are, 2015 is as brand new and full of opportunity for you as it is for me!

Where have I been? I hear you not ask.

I spent a week over Christmas in the Big Apple – New YorkIt was a trip which was planned several months in advance, and I was beyond myself at the prospect of Christmas in the city that never sleeps.

I have some pictures for you – real ones taken with a camera!

central park Cloisters DEER Met night Pigeon rock stained glass Wall st

Have you noticed the lack of snow? Yep, there was no cold, snowy festive weather to prance around in, but it was incredibly fun discovering a new city in a country I’ve only ever seen in the movies and TV shows I use to procrastinate my work life with!

Now I’m back in London and ready to enjoy 2015 to the max!

Here’s to a brilliant year!


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The colour of winter is blue

im winter blues

Here in London, Winter and Autumn are two seasons so in love with each other that they fuse into one rainy-cold-dark seven month period. Technically, we’re in autumn now – you know if you measured the trajectory of Earth’s orbit around the Sun – but subjectively it feels far too cold to stick to restrictive terminology.

Winter Blues is most certainly real. If you ask a doctor they will explain that the correct term for it is Seasonal Affective Disordersounds serious right? It essentially means that your overall mood is affected by the seasons, in a negative way, and winter is the usual culprit.

How could one not feel saddened by winter? Sure, there’s Christmas and New Year’s to get excited about, and our American friends have their Thanksgiving celebrations, oh and let’s not forget how the holiday of Love sits towards the end of the season on the 14th of February. However, a few colourful party days can not alleviate the weight of winter – and so, it is the season of complaining.

I complain wholeheartedly about the brutal awakening each morning to the alarm clock, which is ahead of sunrise by two hours. Forcing myself out of bed when the world is dark and absolutely freezing is not only unnatural, but incredibly painful. I sleep in socks so I don’t have to place my feet on cold ground during the dash to the bathroom. With the dramatic shortening of daylight hours, I have to leave the house in the darkest hour and only manage to return long after the sun has disappeared!

I complain sincerely about the lack of greenery. Autumn strips all trees of their green colours and after a brief red-golden show, all that’s left behind are bare branches. Walking under the all grey sky, I can’t help but feel like everything around me is entering survival mode – and that’s depressing to think about.

I complain avidly about being ill. Recently I was struck down by the horrendous flu – coughing, sneezing, losing the inability to smell or taste food, developing a fever, aching all over and general grumpiness – the flu is a gift that keeps on giving!

And now winter is pretty much here in London. I’ve been layering woolly clothes in doors, drinking plenty of hot tea, and find that I’m still freezing when I venture outside despite being under a massive coat and a matching set of gloves and scarf.

I hope you all stay in good spirits this season!


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Change your perspective with a big smile!

im happy world

Others will tell you – most annoyingly, when you feel miserable and wretched, and you just want to hold onto those horrid emotions for five minutes – they will pick that specific time to coerce you into turning that frown upside down.

Stupid people.

Yet here I am, about to be one of those stupid people. I’m here to tell you to cheer up!

If you are already of the cheery disposition, away with you, I bid you a good day sir!

However, if today is a day when you feel a bit melancholic, a little weak, a bit broken, I’m here to annoy you into happiness!

It really is all about perspective.

Whatever you have going on today, just take 60 seconds to be still. Try not to give into the thoughts sprinting round and round in your head, and just let your body sink into a peaceful void – free from deadlines, free from stress, free from your own criticism. It’s only 60 seconds, trust me, the rushing world won’t notice, but you will feel lighter for it.

Once you have emptied your busy mind it’s time to smile! I’ve found that if you start smiling – a big, cheesy grin upon your lovely face – it is closely followed by an awkward laugh, mainly at yourself and how silly you must look. But you can’t deny such scientific proof – it doesn’t matter how you got there, but you are now happier than you were one and a half minutes ago.

I hope you continue to have an amazing day!


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Heatwaves and feet-tanning is a thing

im tanning

I forgot how hot, sticky, sweaty and suffocating the summer can be in London.

I’m the kind of person who craves the warmth of the sun on their skin. As a vegetable grower, the giant-life-giving-burning star in our sky is terribly important to me. When its gloomy and grey, with the standard drizzle of rain, I am the person you will hear moaning about the British weather and wishing for the sun to hurry through the seasons.

I really do love Britain in the summer. Usually it means ice cream cones, parks, sunglasses and a cool drink at hand. Unfortunately, these are not “usual” times. Although the thermometer may not be reading off an intimidating number in comparison to the more tropical lands of the world, anything above 25 degrees Celsius in London puts us at risk of a heatwave.

For my non-British readers 25 degrees Celsius is equal to 77 Fahrenheit – yes, that may not seem much to you – but it has serious consequences for us over here in London.

When the sun puts some effort into shining, London does indeed become a concrete jungle. The humidity soars and sticks to each person like superglue. The once barely tolerable commutes become absolutely impossible as chronic dehydration leaves us even more frustrated than before. The only real advantages of a heatwave in London is that it gives you the perfect reason to whip out all your cute summer gear from the dark corner of your wardrobe. Men in shorts and T-shirts – poor souls, they don’t really have many options, do they? Women go all out with their summer dresses, full of colour and eye-catching patterns. But there’s one thing that you do no matter what gender category you belong to – you throw away those imprisoning socks. The summer is all about feet in flip-flops, sandals and pumps. Needless to say, I had my flip-flops ready at hand months ago, just waiting for the sun’s arrival.

The British are efficient people. A single ray of UV light is enough to provoke a mass migration to the parks in the most revealing outfits – because people must work on their tans! Unfortunately for me, I was bestowed with the skin type that never tans. My holiday picture timeline goes from pasty white to tomato red and then back to pasty white once I’ve shed my skin like a lizard. Although I can’t bear to be under the sun for the tremendous time required in order to become a shade of golden brown, I did try once, but I came back home in blisters!

Yes, I’m the person that comes out in their summer clothes and looks like a vampire through the entire season. But there’s something even more frustrating than that – my feet tan. The only parts of my body which turns a decent brown-ish colour are my feet. Oh and of course, I get a super awesome tan line from the flip-flops I had been wearing – you know, just to really prove the point. It’s so annoying that the healthy glow of sun-kissed skin can only be found on my feet! Darn those genetics.


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Twitter: a politician’s nightmare

Today is a day of enthusiastic voting – well, it is in the UK anyway! Citizens of the kingdom, which is united, will be visiting polling stations to register their vote for their local government and European Parliament representatives. There are even a good majority of citizens who have already submitted their votes by post, and are seriously on the ball.

If there is one thing us British do well, it’s the thing the rest of the world calls democracy. As a nation, we are fearlessly outspoken about who we want to lead us politically and are unafraid to bring lazy politicians to their knees. People take pride in their votes – and they most definitely should be. Every significant candidate is scrutinised by the media under the watchful eye of the public, so that when the time comes to put a big juicy cross next to the name of your choice, you are very well informed about your decision.

So that’s great…yes, but despite living in a super-multicultural society, with people from every possible background, faith, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, there will always be a handful of the population who want to vote for a party which only favours those who are pro-segregation, racist, intolerant and just darn right silly. Unfortunately, there isn’t a shortage of such parties wherever you go in world.

Now for the gossip low-down! There is a party which calls itself the UK Independence Party, otherwise affectionately known as UKIP. They are the definition of that racist, backward and intolerant mentality that we all want to cleanse from this Earth. Anyway, so they thought hey, let’s show people how we can use technology to look like we care about the public’s opinion – why don’t we gather some virtual support for our waste-of-space-excuse of a party by encouraging people to use #WhyImVotingUKIP.

And people took to it like a pig to mud.

What was initially invented as a way of gathering positive support before the big election, was quickly devoured by the glorious sense of humour and effortless sarcasm that make the British so awesome. For the first time I really really liked Twitter! I found myself laughing at the hilarious genius behind the long list of tweets and sat there for a good hour just soaking it all in. Boy, did UKIP’s efforts at social media backfire! It’s hard not to feel proud that these are my people – their wit and their fearless objection towards intolerance will protect the interests of everyone who calls the UK home. Regardless of who you are and what your beliefs are, you have the right to be here and have your say (even if you do want to vote UKIP), but that right is actually a privilege which is defended by the tolerant, compassionate and crazy cool people who make up majority of the population. You cannot yap on about the importance of your freedom without giving a single thought to the freedom of your neighbour – so when you do vote make sure that your choice is one which will enable others to have a choice too!

Now here are some of my favourite #WhyImVotingUKIP tweets:

 


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In the sunny spirit of things!

Hello lovely people!

How are you feeling on this fine Sunday? Is there a spring to your step? Is there a smile on your face?

I sure hope you are feeling super good today, and if you wouldn’t quite define your current mood as such, don’t worry – here’s a big virtual hug from me!

Why on earth are you feeling so chirpy? – you may find yourself asking (irritatedly or curiously) at the screen. Well, there’s no secret that sunshine makes my brain buzz with excitement – and today I woke up to find that the Sun has missed me also and is ready for a big reunion! London doesn’t get much of a Summer, majority of our year is spent battling the prolonged and miserable mixture of Autumn and Winter, so when the Sun does shine we celebrate with all our being!

The arrival of warm weather brings a smile to people’s faces and I am not excluded from this deal. With my windowsill garden growing green and tall, and creative projects lining up for the moment of freedom following exams – I have a spring in my step! The prospect of new activities on the horizon makes me enthusiastic to complete the tasks of today. Although, last weekend was a stew of unproductive guilt and time-wasting, this week has been getting better. I made it on to the trains in the nick of time, I got into the swing of studying even when I really didn’t want to, and I was quite efficient in ticking items off of my serious long to-do list. Yes, I must admit, my body and mind was tired by the end of the week, but after a little bit of rest and quiet with the addition of glorious sunshine, I am in good spirits once again!

I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you choose to spend it! Stay happy, remember to eat plenty of fruit and wash it down with lots of water. Thanks for stopping by to read best friend!


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The London commute

Hello lovely reader, how is your day panning out so far? No doubt there have been ups and downs on a micro, yet highly significant level. Not to worry, we’ve all been there. Have you ever commuted during the rush hour of the busy London underground system of stuffy trains packed with stuffy people? Yep, that’s a real downer.

London is one of those cities which is loved by those who live outside of it’s borders and grudgingly tolerated by those who are trapped within. Why yes, it does have wonderful amenities, beautiful museums and galleries, most are free for the culture seeking public. It’s a lovely place to visit – heck, even I fall back in love with it when I have time to spend roaming the streets of this city. Unfortunately, it can be infuriating to live and work in – thanks to the busy public transport system.

Do you understand the term ‘too close for comfort’? You definitely would if you have ever been smothered by a stranger’s armpit. Sometimes there is not even a millimeter of space between your cheek and a strange suited back. You can’t afford to pull up your slightly loose or ill fitting jeans because the process will lead to you elbowing the person next to you to amplify your unflattering moment. There’s nowhere for you to really look at during the journey – a face is too intimate, a crotch is even moreso – you end up looking desperately at the tube map and surrounding advertising.

There’s nothing quite like a commute through London on the beloved tube. Whereas a tourist may look at the situation with excited eyes, for those of us who have this as a reality of everyday life, our eyes may seem dead in comparison.

It’s truly one of those ‘can’t live with it, can’t live without it’ situations. The service may be infuriating, depressing and uncomfortable but it’s also the quickest way to get to the best bits of London!