Friday, 30 October 2015

The Importance Of Our Memories

Each and every one of us have a bundle of memories, and we continue to build and create new memories all the time.

These memories, both the good and the bad are so important; they make us who we are and without them we may feel uncertain, or lost with who we are and so on. 

When going through the toughest of times, a way to cope and manage such times is by remembering back to when we've had good moments. Sometimes we forget that good moments and memories don't have to be super impressive experiences we may have had, but can just be the little things that give us a spark of joy. 

With the memories we find difficult to think about, and perhaps for some these feel impossible to even start to speculate. These memories have built us to be who we are, right here, right now. The more difficult memories will have made us stronger, even if it doesn't seem so at the time. 

Coming out of the bad times and conquering through the difficult will inevitably change the way we see things and ensuring that the bad, unhelpful, distressing memories help us grow stronger can be difficult, but can be accomplished; and once we've learnt to do so is a great coping mechanism to help getting through hard times in the future.

Remembering our good memories is so incredibly important; having these to look back on is a very precious thing in life and sadly for many isn't as easy as it should be. 

There are certain ways to make sure we remind ourselves of the good. A way I've learnt to do so is by writing in a journal; each day I write about the experiences I've had during that day - some days I write a few lines, some days a few pages. When I started I made the decision that it didn't matter how much I wrote, just as long as I write each day. 

I can then use this journal to look back on; to look at what things I've accomplished and what challenges I've faced. I haven't been writing in a journal for that long, having started when I came to the US, but I've found it has helped me in so many ways that I know I'll continue it for many years to come. 

There are many other ways we can remind ourselves of the good times, a simple one is to write down a list of things we love, have enjoyed, still enjoy and so on. Another which I can say is truly wonderful, is writing a blog! Writing this blog helps me more than I could have ever hoped to imagine; I love having this place to write about my experiences, and not only for myself, but sharing them with those that read it too.

Similar to blogging and a way many of us do any way, is through taking photos and adding them to a photo album to hand or on a computer and having these photos to look at is a great way of cheering us up when we've had a bad day or find ourselves in a low mood. journal - to write about my day; my camera - to capture those very important memories, and my laptop - to write my blog and to view my photos.

Another way I feel I must mention is through meditation and yoga, I know I've written quite a lot about both these practices, but I have found them to be so helpful in many aspects, including reminding myself of my memories. 

With these two practices, normally, at the beginning of a class the teacher will set an intention for that day (if doing your practice outside of a class, you can also set your own intention). This intention you or your teacher can set can be to focus your practice on reminding yourself of your memories.

To go further into explaining a bit more about the importance of our memories, I thought this post felt like the right time to open up a little; so those reading can fully understand why I feel our memories are so precious - be it the good or the bad. 

So here goes. 

Through the battles with my illness; when I was most poorly, there was a time when my cognitive memory process stopped working properly; because of this I was unable to contain much new information. As well as my short term memory being extremely poor, I found it very difficult to remember memories from my past, such as the Summer of the year before, or even main events and experiences from my past such as holidays, Birthdays and so on.

This was a very scary time and although I could remember people who were very close to me such as my Mum, Dad and my sister, there wasn't a lot else I could process. Luckily once I was strong enough for my cognitive memory to work and through my recovery I've regained those memories I lost but to picture that period of time is difficult. Its hard for me to completely explain as I don’t fully understand it myself, but hopefully you’ll understand enough to get the gist of it.

Something that really helped me once I was strong enough to process memories again was having family remind me of the great, lovely, wonderful and fun times. Being reminded of these kept me smiling when I felt very down.

This time shows an example of my past that I’d now perhaps ironically like to forget. However, I need to be reminded of this time once in a while - to keep me determined, to remind myself of how lucky I am to have pulled through; to remind myself to keep on fighting, to keep battling, to never give up. This is also a prime example of how this memory of mine, the horrible memory that it is. However horrible, no matter how much I wish such a time had never happened, I have to accept that it did. I have to acknowledge it so I can see how I am now so much stronger because of it. I am so lucky to be here, today and I will continue to conquer my battles. 

So, now you may ask…why have I written this post? Why have I opened up about something so personal? What is there for you to take away from this?

I firstly want to thank you for reading this far, as I know its been a long post! For you lovely people - remind yourself of the good times, those great memories…be it something so simple such as reading in the evenings, relaxing in your garden on Sundays; or something of a great experience such as a Birthday or a holiday and so on. We all have them, we do. It may be harder for some than others to pinpoint exactly the things that have made them feel positive in one way or another, but I can assure you it is so worth it once you can remind yourself of these moments. 

What ever you may take from this post; have faith in yourself - remind yourself of the good times, especially when going through the tough; just know and believe that these tough times will help make you stronger.

Maybe now is your chance to try something new…perhaps that might be to start writing a journal? Or, if not a journal, simply writing a list of the things you love, cherish and enjoy. Or, have I even persuaded you to try meditation or yoga? What ever it may be - go for it! Take the chance - believe.

Thank you for reading, all my love x

Monday, 26 October 2015

People Watching In Melrose

One of the 'must do' tourist visits in L.A is to go to the Melrose District, which has been made famous  by being in films and on TV shows such as "Melrose Place" as well as being a place celebrities are often spotted out shopping at the luxurious high-end stores, or for a bite to eat at the lavish restaurants and cafes.

So I decided to take a trip to the Melrose District. As with my other trips I made sure I researched the area in advance to familiarise myself with the surroundings before hand to minimise any mishaps on the day. To get there is only a short bus journey from Santa Monica which is good, and with having planned in advance once I was there I felt quite comfortable in my surroundings.

I had been there previously with my Mum a while back so I already knew the area a little. 

Of course I took this as an opportunity to take my camera to capture some photographs of the, I'm not going to lie, I didn't really find too many photographic opportunities, but what I did quite enjoy was people watching. 

Melrose Avenue and in particularly the infamous Melrose Place is the hotspot for celebrities as well as for filming. So I took this as a great chance to enjoy my time people watching. 

I grabbed myself a cup of iced tea (white coconut iced tea...amazing!) from a little coffee shop called 'Alfred' (here's the link if you want to see how lovely it is:, I then sat down in the seating area just at the front and watched the world go by for a bit. I don't think it was particularly a day for be honest, even if I did happen to pass by a celeb I doubt I'd have recognised them anyway! 

I really enjoyed this time, just chilling, with my cuppa. It was great, and I did manage to get out my camera for some simple people watching snaps...I thought it'd be nice to share these on my blog and I hope they help you get a feel of my time in Melrose - enjoy!

I love all the greenery around Melrose Place and Avenue, the trees, the ivy, the hedgerows...the pretty flowers from whites, to yellows, to pinks...very lovely! 

It was quite a nice contrast to see this food truck just off Melrose Place as the cafes and stores here are all quite expensive looking and a bit daunting. This guy was talking to the person in the truck for quite some time, having a long, happy conversation which was lovely to see :)

A great spot to take a rest in the shade for a bit I must say and look at the perfectly lined tree's -  beautiful :)

The leaves on the trees are so green, and the pink flowers add a lovely pop of colour to the surroundings on the street...I do love a bit of colour!

As I was there in the morning, it was quite quiet, peaceful and pleasant; I'm sure the cafes, such as the one in this photo get very busy around lunch and dinner time! It did look like a very nice place to grab a bite to eat...also very expensive, hehe!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, lots of love x

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Place I Call Home In Santa Monica

So for this next post I'd like to give you a little in sight into the apartment I'm renting whilst in Santa Monica. It's a great little space here, and is really well situated - with a lovely view of the Pier and Ocean; being a stones throw away from the beach which is just perfect for me. It's not too big, nor too's just right, and was already well furnished when I first arrived so I could move in straight away, however it felt quite bland and not homely nor cosy. 

As my Mum was here with me when I first moved in, she helped me out with the first few changes I wanted to make; such as moving some of the furniture around to make it more spacious, which means I can enjoy doing my Yoga and Meditation here each morning before setting off on my day - lovely!

Over my time here I've made a few changes to make the place feel that little bit more homely; a little more 'me', adding my personal touches here and there. Such as a few textile pieces - cushions, a throw; some house plants, fairy lights, candles, kitchen crockery/utensils and so on. 

Now having been here for a while I'd definitely say I feel very comfortable and at home, I love the additions I've made and it feels cosy yet spacious which is a great combination I find.

I will now share with you some photos of my little studio apartment - enjoy :)

This copper edged mirror is from a store called 'World Market', the fairy lights are from Urban Outfitters, and the books are from Barnes and Noble - I love how the mirror reflects the colours from the different fruits, the books and crockery on the kitchen shelf.

This fruit bowl is from West Elm - I love how the tea tins are colour co-ordinated with the colours of the fruits.

The blue bowls are from TJmaxx, and the grey bowls and plates from CB2. I've just tape to stick my favourite little cards on the wall to add little pockets of happiness to the room.

These jars I got from a little green grocers on Main Street, Santa Monica. I love picking up useful bargains like these jars - perfect for storage in the kitchen! 

The copper edged mirror is from World Market, the throw on the door I use at the beach and is from J.Crew.

I have a kettle, coffee maker and blender placed on my kitchen work top; then tucked away quite nicely is a microwave oven and hotplate, as well as the fridge. The tea towel is from World Market.

This lovely antique hook was here already and I absolutely adore it! I've used decorative ribbon for my bike and spare keys, the copper safety pin key ring is from CB2.

These 3 jars are from Urban Outfitters; the Cacti/Succulents are from the Farmers Market - they are so cute!

This stool was here already and I think the rustic feeling it adds to the room is great! The candles and my yoga mat are from TJmaxx.

The Buddha head is from TJmaxx and the decorative Succulent is from CB2; I bought the Lavender at the Farmers Market - I love having house flowers/plants, I feel they fill the room with life and joy!

Some of the books I've been reading - I'm loving my collection so far! A box full of cards with lovely quotations from Papyrus which my Mum got for me before she went - so cute!

The ombre cream to blue cushion is from CB2, the 'E' cushion was a birthday present from my Mum from Nordstrom, and the book I'm currently reading 'Living in the Moment' is from Urban Outfitters - I find they have a really good selection of books!

The bed set and throw are both from TJmaxx - very simple and calming, but I like that :)

If you're interested in any of the stores/items I've mentioned, here are the links:

Thank you for reading this blog post - I hoped you liked this sneak peek into my little studio apartment :) All my love x

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Photo Update - Malibu Beach

For today's post I thought it'd be quite nice to share with you some of the photographs I took this week from a trip to Malibu beach.

Malibu is well known for its gorgeous array of beaches; long sandy beaches, cliffs, sand dunes, and even lagoons. There is so much to explore in Malibu - the list of all the different beaches is endless!

I've been on a few trips there whilst being here in California and I've loved every outing so far; the beaches are quite simple to get to as there's a bus from Santa Monica that stops all along the coast line of Malibu.

The photos I'll be sharing with you I took on Zuma and Westward beaches; I loved the time I spent here. I find being on the beach, and by Ocean a wonderful and calming place to be - the beautiful blue waves with glistening reflections of sunlight and the warm golden sand.

Simply divine, gorgeous, heavenly - I just love it. What do you think?

Enjoy :)

Thank you for reading, all my love x

Monday, 19 October 2015

Letting Go

Letting go is hard, its a challenge, a challenge many of us may find impossible to face...including myself.

Learning to let go is difficult, its a journey and facing up to the challenge of learning to simply 'let go' can cause a spiral of emotions; it may feel weird at first, maybe uncomfortable. But once achieved, once conquered, being able to let go is a gift in life - a treasure, a key component that can help in so many ways each and everyday.

For example, for me, I've found it terribly difficult to let go of my past, and certain events and situations have stayed with me, haunting me in my everyday, a bit like a shadow. This is a horrible feeling, and as I am one who struggles with just letting go the effects of my 'shadow' have been mind numbing.

With my growing independence and confidence and with this big life changer (moving to the U.S. for 6 months) I felt that I wanted to really take a leap of faith; to stand up for myself, to face my fears. One of these being to not let my past effect me in the ways it had been; by taking a step onto this journey of learning how to let go I find I feel a lot more comfortable in myself and the change I feel in myself is just phenomenal.

Now the question does one learn to let go? For some it does in fact come naturally and for those lucky people, doesn't have to be learnt; if only this was the case for all of us, ey?

Are you like me, and find yourself forever thinking about what has been, or what is to be and so on and this effects your mood, health and your everyday in a negative way. Do you want to make a change for the better? Are you willing to take this journey, to learn how to tackle your fears, to learn to live in the moment? 

If you want to take that courageous step, there are different ways to help you take your first few steps...for me, I have done so with the help from two practices, meditation and yoga. There are other ways, I'm sure; but this is the way I have chosen to help me conquer letting go, and so I can share my thoughts on the journey I have taken so far, and what I have learnt in doing so.

A way these two practices have helped me is by teaching me to stay in the moment. To not dwell on the past, nor the future. To be with the here and now. If you have read my previous post 'Finding Inner Calm', I talk here a bit about living in the moment, and making the most of simply just being. Both meditation and yoga have helped me with this, and are also helping me with learning to let go, as well as many other things. So if you've ever been interested in trying out meditation or yoga, perhaps this might help give you that bit of inspiration to give it ago! 

The first step to this journey I found is acceptance. Accepting that there's no easy answer, no quick fix. Learning to let go is a journey, it's a learning practice that can only be achieved by that exact thing 'practicing'. And the same goes for both meditation and yoga, the benefits you get from these two practices is incredible, but it takes time and effort; you've got to be prepared for that, but it is so, so worth it I can assure you!

Patience is never easy, but when accomplished with giving the time, effort, determination and motivation you will feel the benefits so much more.

So if you're someone like me, who struggles to simply let go of certain situations. I can assure you, if you take a leap of faith, and take your first step; get on your path, your journey. It will be so worth it.

Give letting go a try, give mediation and yoga a try. Live in the moment and enjoy it, for life is so truly precious, and you're so special. You deserve to live a fulfilled life; take a chance, give it a go, whats the worst that could happen?

Thank you for reading, 

All my love x

Friday, 16 October 2015

My Experience Of An American Football Game!

For this next post, I thought I'd write about going to my first American Football game - this was a massive challenge for me to achieve, for many reasons...but I knew I wanted to do it so I was determined! I'm so happy I did, and as it was a great success I thought I'd share my experience.

So, last week was the American Football game (USC V Washington). It was held at the L.A Memorial Coliseum which is in central Los Angeles - the longest journey from Santa Monica I've planned to do so far. I planned how to get there and researched the area thoroughly in advanced so I was felt confident about it.

On the day, I got a bus from Santa Monica to the Culver City rail station, then I got the metro train which was 6 stop straight to the L.A Coliseum!

The L.A Coliseum from the entrance of the grounds was already quite something...then the Memorial Coliseum where the game was being held was very, very impressive! As the Coliseum and the grounds its one are part of the University (USC) there's also another sports stadium here, as well as a beautiful rose garden with wonderful colours from pinks, to reds to yellows. Then many other buildings and museums such as the Natural History museum of L.A and so on.

Feeling very nervous and anxious from the moment I stepped onto the bus in Santa Monica, and when getting closer to the Coliseum I felt even more so as it was extremely busy. I've been to football games in the UK before but here they are much more into the whole celebratory part of the game, and for being right amongst it all, on my own, already feeling anxious, it just felt too much! But I knew it was going to be a challenge; a challenge I was determined to conquer!

I had a bit of time before the game started so I decided to take myself away from the crowds and craziness and go to get a cup of tea, chill and mull over things for a bit in an air conditioned coffee shop. I'm so glad I did so as I felt a lot better after and ready to face the crowds of people.

Before going in again, I set myself a task, this being to find myself some merchandise! This may sound silly, but if I'm feeling anxious or panicky I find it helpful sometimes to set myself a task or to focus on something other than the thing I'm feeling anxious about. 

So I went on my search to find some merchandise - this wasn't too difficult and as I already knew what I wanted (a hat and a t-shirt) I quickly choose and paid for my two items. I was now ready to head back in the direction of the entrance into the coliseum.

By this time it was about 5.45pm, as the game started at 6pm I decide to head straight to my seat and I was directed to my seat in no time. Few! I was finally in my seat, and I had a great view - fab!

The introduction to the game was phenomenal! I've never seen anything quite like it!! With flashing lights, music, dancers and even horses - I was just stunned! 

Everyone was cheering (including me) and it was lovely to be part of the team spirit of all those around. After the introduction everyone stood up for the national anthem; this was also wonderful I thought as it was a moment of calm and tranquility just before kick off!

The game started, everyone was cheering and I continued to join in, I can't explain how great it felt being a part of the team spirit!

After about half an hour, more people started to come in and the arena started to get very very busy...I started to feel myself getting overwhelmed and panicky, all the hustling around, the loudness, the was just too much for me. I decided at this point, it was my time to leave. I felt happy what I had managed and my time at the game; but felt now would be the right time to go as I was no longer enjoying it.

So I said my goodbye and headed back home to Santa Monica; the journey back was very simple as I already knew which Metro train and bus to get! I got back in reasonable timing with a massive smile on my face - I did it!! I conquered it! I battled on through my fears and feelings of anxiety! I went to an American football game!! Ahhh! 

I am so happy with what I managed and achieved. It is a memory that will stick with me forever and a huge step for me in feeling more confident in myself that I can in fact make plans like this and for it to go well!

I hope this post helps to give you a little bit of inspiration; with enough motivation and determination you can achieve anything you set your mind on. Ask there something you've always wanted to do but never felt quite up to it? Maybe now is your chance to push yourself - take that step forwards! Believe in yourself. 

I will now share a few photos of the game with you to give an in sight into what it was like - enjoy!

Thank you for reading this post! All my love x

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Finding Inner Calm

I've been wanting to update my blog with another post for a few days now, but I wasn't too sure on what I wanted my next post to be. But this afternoon I made my decision, so here goes. This is a slightly more heartfelt post, but I hope you are able to take something from it.

Now that I'm over half way through my time here in America, I am really starting to feel very different. I feel more confident, independent and a lot happier within myself. 

The past few years of my life have been so, so difficult, upsetting and draining; not only for myself, but also for my family and friends.

I have learnt, over time, from the days I felt at my absolute lowest, to now, that for me, in order to get to a better place, for my mind and body there needs to be very minimal pressures around me. 

Of course a little pressure isn't a bad thing and can be motivational and help keep one determined and in the right mind set for whatever challenges in life they may face. 

I suppose the way I look at it, is that people have their own thresholds with many things, such as with their emotions. For example anger, stress and so on - some people get angry or stressed very quickly to circumstances, others not so much. So in the case of pressure, I have a very low threshold.

A reason I feel my mind has cleared an awful lot over the last few months is that out here I've luckily had very little pressure. I've been able to take moments in my day to just simply be, without having worries, or places to be at a certain time etc. This has been a very precious gift, and I am so grateful to be having this opportunity.

With all that life entails, the hustle and bustle of ones daily routine...there's School, then College or University (many also juggle a part-time job with these), and before you know it you're going straight into the life of Work. There's not much time in between for people to stop, pause, and just be.

I know this for people can be very difficult to achieve just because of the way the world works; but I really want to speak out, to all you reading...whoever you are, a family member, a friend, or someone that has just come across this blog post. 

If you ever find a moment you're able to pause and simple be, without thinking of the worries or the next day or the busy weekend ahead. Take that moment. Make the most of it; such moments of peace and calm are so precious. 

Being calm in life is something thats more challenging than it may seem to be at first. But once you're in your zone, once you have found your inner calm it can be a fantastic tool to use in so many situations of daily life. 

Being on this journey, I have made 'finding my inner calm' something I've really wanted to focus on - when I feel calm I feel stronger, more determined, more motivated and in turn I feel less anxious, worried or panicky. 

If you find just simply 5 minutes to spare after reading this, take those minutes, close your eyes and enjoy simple being. If you find doing so in complete silence you could listen to music, or a meditation CD, App or similar. 

Life is a truly wonderful thing and to find inner calm is magical,

I love you all, thank you so much for taking the time to read this.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Photo Update - Beverly Hills Gardens And Rodeo Drive

There is so much to explore in Los Angeles - I find Santa Monica massive, let alone the whole of L.A too! Whilst being in America my confidence to plan trips out and about has grown a lot and I find I am now enjoying going out on day trips so much more than say, a year ago or less.

Don't get me wrong, I do have days where I feel less confident - but thats okay and we all have ups and downs. In that case I stick to reading my book on the beach; do some Yoga and chill, which are my most favourite things to do out here. But when I feel up to it, I like to plan myself a day trip; as theres so much to explore here, it only takes a little research and I always find something I fancy.

So, today, I made way to Beverly Hills, I hopped on the bus which only took about half an hour. I decided I wanted to stick to 2 main things - going for a wander along the gardens, and a little look around Rodeo Drive area. 

I had a wonderful time, the gardens were gorgeous, there were also some interesting sculptures, which as a lover of Art I was amazed by. I also passed a beautiful Catholic Church and the most incredible Civic Centre I've ever seen. 

Then, when heading back towards Rodeo Drive, I went past another sublime building - I wasn't quite sure what the building was for...but a gate was open so I just popped in to have a quick look. Inside was a divine courtyard, which had a greek temple like feel; with fountains, sculptures and greenery. Once I left, I worked out that it was in fact a building for the 'Paradigm Talent Agency', which has clients in motion pictures, television, book publishing, music etc - so in fact, me being my nosey self, lead to me finding out something quite interesting!

I then got to Rodeo Drive and had a stroll up and down the path, having a peek in the windows at all the really expensive stuff! The one thing I came across that I found quite funny was a lady coming out of one of the expensive stores walking the biggest dog I've ever seen...I wonder who was enjoying the shopping more, the dog or the lady? Have a look at the photos, and see what you or lady? 

I hope you like having a look into my day in Beverly Hills!

Some interesting sculptures! 

A beautiful Church

The very impressive Civic Centre

The wonderful Courtyard in the 'Paradigm Talent Agency' building

The massive dog! (the one on the far side) who do you thinks enjoying the shopping more?