WHY YOU SHOULD NOT STRIVE TO BE A BETTER PERSON

The choice of title will make itself clear, don’t worry.

I was reflecting on my long term goals and about the kind of people that I want to connect and surroud myself with- people who make me want to be a better person. But is that right? I believe that you cannot grow by staying in your comfort zone and should seek out opportunities that encourage personal growth.

And that is not wrong. What is wrong, however, is the idea that we should strive to become better people. Why? Because such abstract generalisations are just that- abstract. You should want to become the best version of yourself. That requires inflection rather than becoming a reflection of those we admire. Inspiration is necessary but what we need a little more of is perspiration. It is far easier to look at a CEO or a talented author or doctor or whomever and say “I want to be like that” than to look at ourselves and critique who we are and who we need to become. The “I want to be like that” mindset mimics the unrealistic dreams we had as children, which the fewest of us actually ended up following. It’s time to set personal goals: whether it’s to eat better, go to the gym more, read more books, start that company, that website.

You cannot grow by staying in your comfort zone

The reason behind all of this is that otherwise you look at yourself one day and do not know the person you have become and don’t even know where to start looking for the old you. It is okay to mimic confidence in unfamiliar settings or during public speaking but it is another thing entirely to live life as an extrovert when you’re the most introverted person there is. Because you will not thrive this way.

During the course of writing this, I came across a Facebook post from one of those self-made-millionare-at-twenty types who promoted the opposite, posing the question: “who are we really and if we can’t know the answer to that then what is the importance to staying loyal to our own idea of who we are?”

It’s an idea that halted my writing process for a little bit because it caused a bit of an existential crisis if I’m being honest with you. It has obvious connections to pyschology and sciences, the nature versus nurture argument, and is something my previous study of psychology at school only taught me a little bit about. But to what extent can we change who we percieve ourselves to be by placing ourself into situations we feel are out of our comfort zone? It could make some people discover another aspect of their ‘self’ but conversly, it could solidify another person’s sense of identity.

So who am I? I can’t count how many times I have been told I don’t look like ‘the typical law student’ and then, in turn, those who know I am a law student ask why I go out clubbing so much; shouldn’t I be in the library? The problem is more the expectation that we can have to fit a certain mold even now in the age of multi-hyphenate job titles, where influencers have clothing lines and books and fragrances but I can’t be a law student who listens to hip hop on the way to lectures and enjoys going to a bar or a club at the weekend? Instead I have decided to just enjoy what I enjoy and watch myself develop into the person I am meant to be but that reintroduces the notion of ‘fate’ that I still somehow struggle with. And is it not slightly complacent to just sit back and watch your sense of identity unfold? I don’t think so. It doesn’t mean I am not constantly self-analysing and adapting certain traits, it just means that I cannot see into the future. After all, we are never finished developing and to argue otherwise is a bit naive, in my opinion, so I’m just taking it one day at a time, trying to be the best I can be in every given situation. Sure, in hindsight we could have all done it better or have done it differently, but that’s not the point.

Happy Saturday x

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BELLA ITALIA

WhatsApp Image 2017-10-02 at 11.04.12I had promised myself (and you) that I would stop myself from writing a post about yet another holiday but my life is pretty boring and this is as good as it gets so what can I do?

My birthday surprise, was finding out that we were going to Conca Dei Marini, near Amalfi, for my dad’s birthday. So that’s where we found ourselves exactly two months after the big reveal. This summer has been all about first time experiences- I had never been to Italy before either and once I was there I felt like my life had been missing something up until that point.

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Freshly caught fish with a side of roasted aubergines and tomatoes topped with parmesan. I could have eaten it ever day, and I nearly did 5 out of 7 days is pretty good going. Nowhere, not in all the expensive restaurants I’ve been lucky enough to go to, has food been as good as in Italy.  Fresh, handmade pasta for 8 Euros in Amalfi, grilled Calamari in Positano, buffalo mozzarella and regional tomatoes as a poolside snack.

IMG_4449WhatsApp Image 2017-10-02 at 11.04.10The only Positano I had been to prior to this trip is the synonymous restaurant down the road from my father’s apartment here in Hamburg. The food there is amazing but has nothing on the experience of being in Positano itself. I feel like before I wax lyrical about this place I am required to also say that the 30 minute taxi ride each way cost a total of €160 from Conca dei Marini. Unfortunately I do not have many photos of Positano itself apart from from the periphery because we went for dinner one evening and the lighting wasn’t great, producing fuzzy photos and not in a cute, artistic way! There was everything I could ever ask for, including the guest appearane of Paris Hilton which I unfortunately missed, hahaha. There were bars, cafes, restaurants in the courtyards of five star hotels where starters started at €15 and the most amazing art galleries, open until late in the night. Of course no trip to Italy is complete with a trip to the Gelateria and where there’s a will there’s a way and suddenly we were all just about hungry enough for a scoop.

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There isn’t much more I can say other than that you need to see this place for yourself. My dad has already dropped subtle hints about us returning next year so if that doesn’t tell you enough about how amazing a place the Amafi Coast is, I don’t know what will.

MORE IS MORE

Gucci Ready-to-Wear Spring 2018

 

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All photos in this post are from vogue.com

The Gucci takeover has not halted and this season, every store I walk into is giving me some serious Gucci vibes: you can tell that this season, the vibe is “the more opulent, the better” and I’m loving it.

“Now it’s more than beauty, it’s more about a state of mind…an idea of community and a really deep expression.”

Alessandro Michele’s collection showed during Milan Fashion Week, if “showed” is the right word to use in this case as it wasn’t so much as showing the clothes – which could hardly be seen with the fog and lighting – as much as the experience. I find it interesting to see probably the most coveted brand right now to transcend commercial viability and almost regress into an art form.

The vibe was 7o’s with a dash of old-school British influence thrown in, as referenced in the “never marry a Mitford” jumpers and surplus of tweed. And not to forget the references to Elton John thrown in, highlighting Michele’s friendship with the former, and giving the collection a personal touch.

I haven’t always been a fan of the flashy kind of glamour pertaining specifically to what has become an entity in its own right by the name of “logomania”, because to me it seemed very pretentious and extremely superficial and so I stuck to a predominantly black colour palette without branding which, when replicated by many brands simply looked cheap and tacky. This season however, it all seems more fun and lighthearted and so I have found myself falling victim to colour and my credit card (don’t tell my dad please).

Speaking of realistic, one thing I am all about is a realistic price tag. I’m a nineteen-year-old student so I’m not even going to pretend to be able to afford luxury brand price tags however much I may want to. In lieu of that, I would like to use this opportunity to thank my friend who brought me a (fake) Gucci t-shirt back from her trip to Turkey.  The market of fake designer products is a topic I am well aware of and may address in another post but I am not trying to take anything away from the brands I admire, I just want to have a little fun with fashion too.

I think it’s safe to say, that my autumn wardrobe will be Gucci-inspired in more ways than one.

(FALL)ING

I returned home from Mallorca last Wednesday, concluding my summer of travelling, my 11th and final flight of the summer taking me firmly back to reality. Acclimatisation from 30 degrees, to highs of 15 here in Hamburg has definitely taken some getting used to but I am starting to like autumn whereas I used to hate it. Returning to school after the summer made any positives of autumn get drowned out with the stress of essays and grades but now, regardless of the fact of this being the second year where I am no longer at school, I feel as though September is still almost like a new year, so I’m using it as an opportunity to reflect on the year so far and see what my goals are for the remaining months of 2017 (passing my end of term exams at uni).

Mallorca was the perfect way to wind down from my summer and my return makes me feel motivated to get back to my job and to university in a month’s time. I loved my experiences this summer and am eternally grateful for having been to the places I’ve been and having seen the things I’ve seen but not being home for a period of more than five days for nearly three months made me feel anxious about what I’d return home to. Luckily my orchid survived my absence and is officially a year old but aside from that it wasn’t the state of my place as much as it was just the feeling that I had just dropped so many responsibilities. Now I’m in the process of organising all of that so I guess I’ll see how that goes…

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F for first class? No, F for Flybe economy

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I think it’s crucial to spend time alone to teach yourself that no matter what happens, you can carry yourself through it and see the other side. For a long time I didn’t like to be alone, confronted with my own thoughts but there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. For that reason I love flying, its an escape from the mundane everyday where I love being on my own. Although on the way home from Mallorca I was glad to not be alone when we missed our flight and got kicked out of our hotel so had to find the next flight out to Hamburg as well as affordable accomodation for the night which turned out being a hostel with plastic covers on the matresses, a slight downgrade from our 4 star hotel room with a double balcony.

In the time that I was writing this post, I booked flights to England to see my family again for a couple of days in October before university starts again. I was trying to take things down a notch and take a breather but things don’t always go to plan! Sometimes you have to listen to yourself and see what it is that you really want, and for a while I thought I was running away from my life and responsibilities here in Hamburg and should therefore settle down. Now though, I feel as though I am rather making the most of life and of the opportunities I have been given. Living in a different country to a significant portion of family and loved ones is not easy and something that should definitely not be underestimated.

You shouldn’t think twice about following your dream and experiencing all the world has to offer but I personally have found myself to struggle with the two lives and often found myself wondering what life would have been like had I stayed there and taken the traditional route to university. However, it stays only that. This has afforded me so much personal growth it’s incredible: I’ve become a lot more financially independent and independent in general since having moved out from home into a shared apartement and starting university. 

SUMMER’S OVER INTERLUDE

After yet another long hiatus, I’m back with a vengeance. Having had the most amazing summer of my life, slowly university coursework and my job are calling me back to reality. So I feel like now is the perfect time to share with you what I’ve been up to, as I have been reflecting on my experiences (and procrastinating doing my coursework).

The City of Angels

Los Angeles. It has always been a dream of mine to go there, but it remained just that, a dream, until a FaceTime session with my mum in late May where she announced she had organised it all and we’d just need to book flights now.

So book flights we did. University finished on July 14th and on the 17th, my mum, sister, and I, were at Heathrow to fly to LA. I love flying and just this summer I will have been on 11 flights in two months but my first long haul flight was everything I expected and more. Not an hour went by without a food cart being rolled down the aisle or free drinks being offered. We landed in LA 11 hours later tired and slightly bloated but happy. Although I love the luxury of staying in a hotel, it was so nice to stay with my Aunt in Pasadena, and experience the ‘real’ LA and not have to rely on tourist information.

The two week trip to California took us to Santa Cruz, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Downtown LA to name but a few, not forgetting the many, many Starbucks’ we stopped at and kept in business along the way.

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I didn’t really know what to expect in Pasadena and what we would find but IT WAS AMAZING. It was such an immaculate city, and Old Pasadena had all the shops you need, yes, Sephora is a necessity! What I loved most, was the number of cafes and restaurants because I am a bit of a self-confessed foodie in that I do judge a holiday or a city by the food I’ve had (amongst other things). The vegetarian food was so good it even convinced me to transition back to vegetarianism but there’ll be more about that in another post.

There was a cinema with the most amazing concept. You go down some escalators and into a bar and seated area where a jazz band was playing. The theatres thenselves seated less than 50 people, with everyone having a red velvet reclining chair and a button to press to order food and drinks from the bar. I usually hate going to the cinema: sure, I like seeing new movies but why would I go with a date or friends to spend money on shitty food and sit in silence in the dark for the next two hours? This, however, is something that I would definitely do again and I haven’t come across in the UK or Germany yet but I’ll keep my eyes open.

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Brain food was also a requirement of the trip and the Getty Centre not only showcases art but is a work of art in itself. I mean look at the photos, if all art galleries looked like this I would have gone to so many more over the years but that is definitely one of my personal goals, to do more cultural things both in my own city and when travelling. I loved the David Hockney exhibit, unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photos inside, but he’s a contemporary British artist and his self portraits and polaroid compositions were so fascinating and inspiring. The gardens were immaculate, as was the building itself and immediately made me feel so calm and centred, it was almost like art itself.

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Grilled salmon, oven-roasted vegetables and sauteed spinach with garlic and chilli.

One of the best meals of my life without a doubt was in the Greenleaf restaurant in Venice. Did you appreciate my non-food related interlude? I love when amazing food is also so healthy but not pictured is the artisan doughnuts (donuts?) from Blue Star Bakery. I’m not usually a fan of doughnuts but this was not an opportunity I could pass up on so I chose a chocolate and crushed hazelnut glazed doughnut, my aunt had a matcha doughnut that tasted surprisingly good and my mum and sister had a classic buttermilk glazed doughnut that I could have eaten ten of.

These are only small snippets of the trip, there was also our 12-hour-one-way road trip to Santa Cruz where we stopped off in Santa Barbara and the vista point where we saw elephant seals. Then there was the beach in Malibu, our window-shopping only Rodeo Drive experience, West Hollywood and seeing a few famous faces and eating a retaurant that my parents went to in their 20s. Sometimes however it is nice to just put the phone down and appreciate the views and live the experience.

The experience I didn’t enjoy however, was the return trip. Apart from obvious reasons like my leaving LA, when we landed in Heathrow, I was supposed to have a connecting flight to Hamburg but my luggage couldn’t be transferred on so I had to get my suitcase and drag it across the airport to another terminal where I discovered my flight had been cancelled. Fucking fantastic.  In the end I managed to get a connecting flight over Düsseldorf so I at least got home that night but three flights in one day was more than enough for me…until a week later where I flew to the Amalfi Coast with my dad and sister.

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Christmas with your loved ones, I wanted to post earlier but I think it’s nice to use these few days as a little break from social media. As we spend less and less time with our families due to distance and work and just life in general, I want to appreciate the uninterrupted time I do get to spend with them removed from the stress of daily life where your interactions consist of a quick “hello” and then swiftly followed by “goodbye” as you rush off to work or university”.

It was a shame to not have been able to fly back to England to visit my mum, grandma and sister also because I absolutely love London at Christmas. Everyone asks why I do when in Germany I have the genuine Christmas markets on basically every street corner but for me nothing beats London – I love the crowds (although I do try to avoid Oxford Street) and the shops and the diverse food because my palette has not yet grown accustomed to traditional German food such as Kassler and Sauerkraut to name two of the biggest offenders. Nonetheless, my dad and I had a very decadent little Christmas with his girlfriend and her family with lots of (read: too much) champagne and good food, Sauerkraut not included.

I’m not one to brag about what I’ve received, and I don’t plan on doing so here, but all that you give and you get really does make you realise how blessed you are in terms of lifestyle and loved ones.  I do , however, feel like I might just have overindulged on all the food and hear the gym calling me again, but if not at Christmas then when, and thankfully I have some cosy jumpers to hide my food baby underneath…until we go out for dinner tonight.

CRASHING THE PREVERBIAL PARTY

Do people even read blogs anymore? I feel like I’m a couple of years too late to this party but who doesn’t love a party crasher to revive things a little (and probably embarrass myself in the process)?

18 and jaded: welcome to my life. I most aptly sum up my current state of affairs as ‘balancing precariously on the last stepping stone into adulthood’. So I’m trying to create a little safety net, or rather, a haven, for myself and the rest of you out there.

A couple of years ago, teen magazines mixed with my Vogue subscription got me through life very well: I had the advice columns in the teen magazines to tell me how I could know whether my crush was into me, and then Vogue to give me an insight into the rapidly-approaching adult world of high heels and handbags worth more than a year’s pocket money for me. This is not to say that Carrie Bradshaw’s infamous quote on Sex And The City– “When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more.”- doesn’t still ring true but I’m still a long way out from the lifestyle depicted on the glossy pages of fashion magazines and I feel like there is something lacking in the way of advice for the almost-adults-who-almost-have-their-life-together-but-not-quite.

I think to be a writer or blogger or anyone who shares some aspect of their life on the internet with strangers, you have to be a little bit more narcissistic than we may like to admit, after all, we are trying to create a brand based solely on the hope that absolute strangers are interested enough in us to keep us going. That was more of a generalisation based on self-reflection please but I’m writing, or rather word-vomiting, because I felt like something was/is missing on the internet and my ego allows me to think I may be able to fulfil this requirement. Maybe. Hopefully.