So I was about to watch a Patricia Bright video, (hands down my favourite youtuber. Best believe I will be buying ALL her merch when it drops), when an ad popped up. I normally skip past ads as soon as youtube allows, but the animation in the ad stopped me. The advert was for the app Headspace which is a meditation app to calm the mind and be more conscious of your thoughts. I’ve been reading The Power of Now, (I’m going to be honest, it’s taking me a while to get through it), so I figured the both of them would make a great pair. I downloaded the app, and began day 1 of the basics pack which is aimed at beginners.

I find the animations super helpful, (and the graphics are amazing). They really help to illustrate the metaphors usually used to describe the mind or point he’s trying to make about the mind. You can choose how long you meditate for, from 3, 5 or 10 minutes depending on how much time you have to set aside in your day. I’ve found the basics packs a really good way to fully understand and comprehend what mediation is all about and ease myself into how to do it. Alongside this though, there are singles and packs of guided meditation for specific situations, for example ‘feeling burned out’ or ‘waking up’. (Some of the packs you have to pay the subscription fee for, but the majority of it is totally free). I’ve found the interface to be simple and user friendly. The only thing I would say is that I don’t find his voice very calming. To me, he sounds like a salesman trying to sell me something. Andy Puddicombe, (the voice you hear and co-founder of the app), is actually nothing of the sort, he’s an ordained Tibetan monk, so that could just be me.

I highly recommend this app. With everything going on, and not going on, in my life right now I feel like I have no control over my mind or my thoughts, so I’m finding trying to be more mindful and present really helpful in calming my mind and myself down.

// En los últimos días, he sido utilizando la app que se llama Headspace. Es una app para meditar y facilitar a la conciencia de su mente y sus pensamientos. Los videos pequeñitos ayudan a entender lo que habla el hombre, y las metáforas facilitan el entendimiento también. Se puede elegir si quieres meditar para 3, 5 o 10 minutos para que se quepa en su día perfectamente. Hay meditaciones para situaciones especificas tales como manejar ansiedad y paciencia. La app es fácil a usar y el plano es muy simple. La única cosa que no me gusta es la voz del hombre que cuenta las meditaciones. A mí, no parece tranquilla, sin embargo Andy Puddicombe, (el hombre detrás de la voz y co-fundador de la app), es un monje tibetano entonces, este disgusta es probablemente una preferencia personal.

Al fin y al cabo, yo recomiendo esta app. Con todo lo que esta pasando en mi vida, esta app me ayuda a tranquilizarme y mi mente. Por qué no intentas, es gratis!


Eating my way Downtown


(Sing the title, I dare you).
The past 2 weekends, I haven’t had any travel plans. (Or any plans at all for that matter). Instead of sitting and home, watching Netflix and being miserable, I figured I’d take myself into Madrid and have a little wander around the coffee shops. I find coffee shops are a safe haven for solo wanderers. I like the hum and buzz of people around me, but I can feel safe, even though I’m alone. It makes me feel like I’ve actually done something with my day.


Last week I had intended to go to J&J Books and Coffee. It’s a little coffee shop which sells English books, but when I arrived it wasn’t what I expected. It was mad busy and super loud. The ‘book shop’ was a small rack by the door of books that didn’t interest me at all. After 5 minutes of staring at the menu, about a metre from the bar as there were so many people, I left. I refused to be defeated, so headed to maps to direct me to the nearest coffee shop and I ended up in Toma Café.

I got to the till, where the menu is, to find a GRILLED CHEESE, (aka, 4 cheese panini which I’d be craving for so damn long). Toma Café I feel is very much a working cafe. The tables which are opposite the kitchen are best suited to those who have brought their laptop along and are determined to smash some work out. There are some spaces for a more relaxed few hours but, it’s a small space, so they were all taken. All in all though, would definitely go back. Its fairly reasonable, (I ordered a panini and a chai latte for €10.50), and a really cute, chilled atmosphere. Find them in Malasaña on Calle de la Palma, (just off Calle San Bernardo, which is just off Gran Vía). Nearest metro is Noviciado.


Saturday just gone I went to HanSo Café and this time I had company. It’s honestly such an unsuspecting little place. Mi amiga couldn’t find it even though she was standing directly opposite the door! This café, I would say, is definitely a mixture of working brunches and social ones. They have a great menu with vegetarian options, vegans options and a few, (only a few mind), gluten free options. I had the avocado eggs benedict, sin bacon ofc, and it was DIVINE. My friend, who is gluten free, had limited options but was happy with a waffle which looked B E A U T I F U L and a coffee which she said was the best she’d ever drank, so coffee lovers, HanSo is the place for you. I paid €7.90 for food, so a drink on top would have taken it up to about €11. Find them round the corner from Vega, on Calle del Pez. Nearest metro stations being Callao and Gran Vía.

Do yous want me to review all the coffee shops in Madrid? Because I, selflessly, volunteer as tribute.

During · Reflection

seis meses después…

fullsizeoutput_120d(Photo from my first day at Uni)

6 months ago, on September 7th, I arrived in Spain. Full of excitement and anticipation to begin the coveted Year Abroad.

I actually feel pressure to sit here and write that the past 6 months have been the best months of my life and that I don’t want my year abroad to end. You see so many people on instagram, doing a study or work placement abroad, having the most amazing time and living their best life. This blog is my little space on the internet to speak my truth, and the truth is that the past 6 months have been a real struggle.

I feel like this is a classic case of expectation versus reality. I changed my mind last minute from doing a work placement abroad to studying abroad: big mistake. My reasoning, thus expectation, was that in going to uni, I would meet loads of Spanish people my own age and other Erasmus or International kids from all over the world. I’d have a big group of friends to go ‘out out’ with, go exploring with, eat with, generally to hang out with. The reality, however, couldn’t be more different. I can’t say that I really have friends of my own over here. By that, I mean that there’s groups of people that I hang out with, but it’s a case where they’re all friends and I’m just the tag along: the scrape. It’s honestly so sad for me to sit here and write that I have no friends. I’ve never felt the feeling of intense loneliness like I have in these past 6 months. I would say this has also been massively exacerbated by the level of boredom from living in Alcalá which is honestly beyond belief.

My other expectation was that, in living and going to uni here, like magic, my Spanish would improve. The reality: it hasn’t. I’ve done a language course, (shouldn’t have been necessary after studying Spanish for 7 years), I attend an intercambio every week and try my hardest to speak Spanish where possible. When people speak to me in English, I make a point of replying in Spanish. The awkward thing here is that, inevitably, there comes a point where I can’t understand something or simply cannot formulate a sentence as I panic and my brain starts melting. Honestly, thinking about retaking the OLS test at the end of the year makes me so anxious as I my Spanish ability has not improved one bit. The whole point of this year abroad is to improve language skill and fluency. Seeing as I haven’t done that makes me feel like I’ve failed my year abroad.

On top of all of this, everything that happened in January, (which of course could happen anywhere), has just made everything 10x worse. I feel like my identity, who I am as a person, has basically been robbed from me. The things I would to make this year abroad bearable, to ease everything above, I can no longer do. The past 6 months have seen some of my darkest days. The amount of times I’ve facetimed my Mum crying, with the full resolve to just quit and return home. Just this weekend gone, I made that exact phone call.

When things aren’t going well, it’s so easy to dwell on the negatives. There are of course some positives in all this. I’ve met some cool people, I’ve had a few really fun nights out, I’ve learnt to dance bachata y kizomba. I’ve been able to explore places I didn’t think I’d visit, (I’d never even heard of Chefchaouen until I went). I’ve done things for the first time, like hiking on a geological mountain site. Above all, I’ve had the opportunity to live in a different country. Many people dream of living abroad, but never get the chance. Although these 6 months have been very difficult for me, I’m still thankful and grateful and I’ve been to experience everything I have.

I have some fun plans coming up, which I’m very excited about. A bit more travelling and a few people are coming out to visit! Let’s hope I can make the remaining 3 months I have here in Spain, the very best months.

During · Exploring

Exploring: Tangier, Morocco (II)


We woke up early Saturday morning and padded down for a quick breakfast before heading out for the day. On the way to our first stop, we took a break to have a deeks at a beautiful vista overlooking a river. (It could have been a lake, I honestly had no idea what exactly it was, it was just super pretty). // Nos levantamos temprano por la mañana de sábado. Comemos desayuno y nos fuimos para empezar otro día de actividades. En camino, paramos para ver una vista super linda de un lago. 


Our first stop of the day was Chefchaouen, otherwise known as The Blue City or The Blue Pearl. No-one knows for sure why the city is painted blue. One theory is that blue is a sacred colour for Jews, and Tangier has a diverse mix of Muslims, Jews and Catholics. Another, is that the colour blue keeps away mosquitos. The final theory, and the one I think is most probable, is that it’s purely for tourism. Either way, the 50 shades of blue, speckled with white in some places with people milling about is absolutely beautiful. // Llegamos en Chefchaouen, conocido como la Ciudad Azul. Nadie sabe porque las calles son pintadas azul, pero hay 3 teorías. Uno es que azul es un color especial para los Judios. Otro, es que el color azul protege contra los mosquitos. La última razón, que para mi parece lo más probable, es para el turismo. De todas formas, es una ciudad hermosa.

After a tour through the narrow, winding, blue hued streets, we stopped to eat and shop! I am terrible at haggling. The prices they quote me seem super cheap to start with, so I feel almost rude asking them to go any lower. My friend is top haggler so I just let her do her thing. The locals in Chefchaouen were super warm and friendly and their language knowledge is incredible. Arabic and French are official languages in Morocco but due to it’s proximity with Spain, (only 14km away), everyone in Tangier speaks Spanish too.  //  Después de un tour a través de las calles angostas y azules, comimos y fuimos de compras! No puedo baratear para nada, entonces pedí a mi amiga para hacerlo. Los locales en Chefchaouen son muy amables y su conocimiento de idiomas es increíble. Árabe y Frances son los idiomas oficiales de Marruecos, pero debido a la proximidad a España, todo el mundo en Tánger habla Español también.

I would definitely say that Chefchaouen was one of my favourite parts of the trip! // Diría que Chefchaouen fue uno de mis partes favoritos del viaje.


We hopped back onto the bus and travelled 1h30 north of Chefchaouen to Tétouan. Stepping off the bus, I felt like I was back in Spain. Our new guide, Mohammed, (are you seeing a trend here? I learnt that it’s custom to name the first born son Mohammed, hence the popularity), told us that when the Moors were kicked out of Spain they went to Tétouan, thus the similarity in architecture. // 1h30 al norte de Chefchaouen, llegamos en Tétouan que parece muy similar a España. Nuestra guía nos dijo que cuando los Moros fueron expulsados de España, se fueron a Tétouan, por lo tanto, las similaridades en la arquitectura. 

Walking through the medina in Tétouan is not a tourist experience, nor is it for anyone with a weak stomach. There was fish, not on ice. There was cheese, not refrigerated. There was hundreds of live chickens in cages, next to their dead brothers and sisters who were hung up for sale. I would say 90% of the group were converted to vegetarianism after that walk. It was honestly a sensory overload but this was like the medina on the first day, it was about seeing the authentic Morocco and not just the touristy parts. // Andar a través de la medina en Tétouan no es una experiencia turística ni para los que no tienen un estámago fuerte. Había pescado, queso y pollo no refrigerado. Pienso que 90% del grupo se hizo vegetarian después de esto. 

Coming out of the medina leads out to the entrance of the palace of the King of Morocco. There are photos of the King everywhere. In the hotel, in shops, even in the club we went to! He’s highly respected and loved as he is the highest Imam, but he forms a constitutional monarchy, that’s to say, there is a democratic Moroccan government. // Vimos el palacio del Rey de Marruecos. Hay fotos del Rey en todos partes porque la gente lo respecto mucho porque el Rey es el Imám más alta.

fullsizeoutput_15d6IMG_0422(I apologise, I forgot to take decent photos of the tent and dinner)

After a long day, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. Dinner was held in a huge marquee, with traditional Moroccan decor. We saw a show whilst eating with dancers and musicians.
The company I was travelling with had organised a night out for everyone to celebrate our final night. It was in a club right next to the hotel and we had our own private room, which put me at ease seeing as this would be my first ‘out out’ experience since January. I didn’t drink anything and ended up staying out until 2! It was actually a perfect opportunity to ease me back into being in a club environment. I couldn’t not go. How many chances will I get to turn up with some lit Americans in a VIP space in Morocco?! // Comimos la cena en una carpa que tuvo la decoración tradicional. Hubo un espectáculo con músicos y bailadores. La empresa, con quien estaba viajando, habia organizado una noche en una discoteca a lado del hotel. Fue una noche divertida y una buena manera de moverme con cuidado a salir otra vez.


Side note: On the first day, a group of girls went to the shop to buy water and they were actually followed by a group of men sleazing over them, so I wouldn’t say it’s safe to backpack or really go as an all female group to Morocco. I would love to return and do Marrakech and Casablanca, but I would recommend going on an organised trip, like I did, or going as a mixed gender group. // Me gustaría regresar a Marruecos y visitar a Marrakech y Casablanca. Al primer día, un grupo de chicas fueron a la tienda para comprar agua, y fueron seguidas por un grupo de hombres. Por eso, aconsejaría que las chicas van en un viaje organizado o en un grupo con una mezcla de sexos.

At the beginning of the year I had planned to go on the trip, but after January I didn’t think I’d be able to. I’m so proud of myself for just plucking up the courage, taking the opportunity and going. I’m so grateful and thankful for the chance to go and have this experience. It was honestly an incredible and unforgettable trip and it makes me so excited to keep exploring more places. // Al principio del año, tuve ganas de ir al viaje, pero después de Enero no pensaba que yo podría. Por eso, estoy orgullosa de mi-misma. Fue un viaje increíble y inolvidable. 

Shukran Tangier! // Gracias Tánger!

During · Exploring

Exploring: Tangier, Morocco (I)

2018-02-23 10:08:38.952

In the early hours of Friday morning, after an incredibly uncomfortable 8 hours on a night bus, we arrived at the port of Tarifa. After some breakfast and a quick attempt at a freshen up, we boarded the ferry to Morocco. All the exhaustion and frustration from a poor nights sleep and hours of waiting around evaporated as we pulled into Tangier Ville. The excitement and anticipation for my first African adventure took over and so did my camera, so prepare for a long and fairly picture heavy post. (No seriously, brace yourselves). // En la madrugada de viernes, llegamos a Tarifa para cruzar el estrecho de Gibraltar hasta Tánger en Marruecos. Fue mi primera vez en África y estaba llena de entusiasmo para explorar. Hay muchísimas fotos, entonces preparate!


First stop on our activity filled weekend was Cap Spartel. The most northwestern point in Africa, it’s where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. It served a lighthouse, stands about 300m above sea level and has the most amazing view of the sea. // La primera parada en nuestro viaje fue Cap Spartel. Es el punto más noroeste del África y donde el océano Atlántico se encuentra el mar mediterráneo. Era un faro y es 300m sobre el nivel del mar. Tiene las vistas del mar increíbles. 


Under Cap Spartel you’ll find the Caves of Hercules. Walking down into the caves gives you another beautiful view of the ocean, but solely from the Atlantic side. The strong waves literally sound like rolling thunder. I don’t know what it is about nature and I at the moment, but every time I’m surrounded by nature, I have these profound moments of peace. Like in La Pedriza, looking out to the sea and hearing and seeing the power and beauty of the waves, I just felt peaceful, happy and massively grateful.

The caves themselves are a combination of natural phenomena and human craft. It was discovered in C19 and it is a site which acts as proof for the Neolithic civilisation in prehistory.  It was also used by the Berbers to make wheels, which they then used to trade for oils. The Atlantic ocean has carved an opening that looks like the continent of Africa. (Right in the bottom left hand corner, you can just about make out Madagascar). It’s honestly so humbling to see what beauty has come from both man and nature, working together somewhat, over the years. In terms of Hercules, the legend is that Hercules slept in this cave before doing his 11th labour. (I have no idea what that is/means. My knowledge of Hercules is literally the Disney movie with the gospel singing Muses). // Fuimos a la Cueva de Hércules que tiene una mezcla de talla natural, gracias al océano atlántico, y la talla de hombre. Se sirvió como una prueba de la civilización neolítica en prehistoria. Además los Berebers lo utilizaban para fabricar las ruedas. En cuanto a Hércules, según las leyendas, duermió aquí antes de su día de labor.


Moving downwards towards the beach came the highlight of the trip for many people: CAMEL RIDES. According to our guide, Mohammed, a camel can go for 25 days without water. // Después, fuimos a la playa para el momento culminante para la mayoría de las personas: CAMELLOS. Según nuestra guía, Mohammed, un camello puede sobrevivir hasta 25 días sin agua.


Last stop of the day was the Medina and Kasbah in Tangier. From what I understood, a Kasbah and Medina are pretty much the same thing, but the Medina is normally within a Kasbah as the Kasbah acted as a defence against enemies. Either way, both have very narrow, winding streets. The ones in Tangier seemed more residential and full of locals just going about their day to day lives. I enjoyed this part as it was far less touristy and gave us a glimpse of authentic Tangier for the average person living there. That being said, it’s not very picturesque so I have barely any photos. // La última parada del día fue la Medina y Kasbah de Tánger. Yo entendí que una Medina y Kasbah son básicamente la misma cosa, pero la Medina está dentro del Kasbah porque el Kasbah se comporta como una fortaleza contra enemigas. De todas formas, los dos tienen las calles angostas y serpenteantes. Pareció que los que frecuentan la Medina y Kasbah son los locales que me gustó. Parece más auténtico y me da una vista a la vida cotidiana de los que viven en Tangier. Sin embargo, por esta razón, no son pintorescos entonces no tengo muchas fotos.

One very interesting thing I learnt at an Argan oil shop was the way in which Argan oil is actually made: ff you’re eating, I advise you stop. So apparently, it’s made from a seed that is eaten by goats. The goats digest what they can and then throw up what they can’t digest from the seeds. The goat chun is then hand cold-pressed to make Argan oil. I was just as grossed out as you probably are now, but that didn’t stop me buying a body lotion and a solid musk perfume. // Algo muy interesante que aprendí en una tienda de aceite marroquí es la manera en que la fabrica. Las cabras comen las semillas, y digerir lo que pueden. Vomitan los restos de las semillas y esto esta utilizado para crear aceite marroquí Yo sé, me dio asco también, pero al fin y al cabo, yo compré un leche corporal y un perfume.


After an activity filled day on almost no sleep, after dinner everyone was exhausted so went to bed early in the hope of getting a good nights rest for the second and final day of adventures… // Después de una noche sin dormir y un día lleno de actividades, nadie tuvo ganas de hacer nada por la noche. En vez, nos acostamos para preparar para el proximo y ultimo día de aventuras…


Parque Europa


Just a few snaps from my weekend travels around Europe. First stop was Berlin and the Brandenburg gate. We then popped across to Greece to see the Odeon (the UK cinema chain name make so much sense now). I finally got to see the Trevi Fountain in Rome and Michelangelo’s David in Florence. They say he’s meant to be the most perfectly proportioned man… PARDON?
Our little trip ended in Paris and, of course, we couldn’t visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.

LOL JKS. I went to Parque Europa in Torrejón.
It’s a park full of replica European monuments. It’s very child oriented and there’s not much going on in the town centre, but it’s a good way to kill a few hours on a sunny Sunday like we did.

Entrance is free but you’ll need cash. The food places and little kiosks dotted around the park don’t accept card payments. From Atocha you can find Torrejón de Ardoz on the C-2 (toward Guadalajara) and C-7 (toward Alcalá de Henares) lines.

(The final photo is a photo of an actual piece of the Berlin Wall. It’s not a replica or recreation, it’s a legit piece of the wall that divided the German capital during the Cold War).

// Aquí tenéis algunas fotos de mi tiempo viajando por Europa. Visité Alemania, Francía, Italia y Grecia. Fue un viaje increíble.

JAJAJA, yo bromeo, yo bromeo. Fui a Parque Europa en Torrejón.
Es una parque llena de monumentos europeos replicados. Se enfoca en los niños y no hay mucho en el centro de Torrejón, pero es una manera divertida para matar el rato en un día soleado.

La entrada es gratis. Lleva efectivo. Los restaurantes y tiendas pequeñas alrededor del parque no aceptan tarjeta. Desde Atocha, puede encontrar Torrejón de Ardoz en la linea cercanía C-2 (hacia Guadalajara) y C-7 (hacia Alcalá de Henares)

(La última foto es un pieza del Muro Berlin. No es una réplica, sino un resto del muro que dividía la capital aleman durante la Guerra Fría).


The Versatile Blogger Award


The other day the lovely Rebecca from Breathe Rebecca, Breathe nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! I’m super honoured that someone actually reads my blog and sees it as worthy enough for this. I have to admit, I don’t actually read that many blogs and the blogs that I do read have pretty much already been nominated, so, instead of nominating others I’m just gonna to put a list of my favourite blogs at the end of this post to somewhat share the love.

So, here we go 7 ‘interesting’ facts about me:

  1. I’m a fairly superstitious person, so the fact that I’ve broken my pinky finger on my right hand, (the one I make all my pinky promises on), and my ring finger, (there’s the explanation for the perpetual singleness), actually big time stresses me out.
  2. I once won £500 in a 3-way dance off at Bongo’s Bingo. My friend called Bingo at the same time as 2 other people and the rules are that if someone calls Bingo at the same time they have to dance to see who wins. I was sent as tribute and managed to win! So G and I split the money 50/50. Side fact to this one: I love to dance. I would say it’s probably my only passion. If I could have been a profesional dancer, I would have been.
  3. In year 8, (so I was most definitely old enough to know better), I read the Cherub books by Robert Muchamore. I was obsessed and fixated on becoming and spy and forming part of Cherub. (How actually tragic).
  4. I have a tattoo on my right rib for my Grandparents. It’s 2 stars because they’re my two shining stars and the Nevis flag, where they’re from, has 2 stars on it.
  5. If I were on death row and I had to request my final meal it would 100% be mac’n’cheese.
  6. I have never seen Titanic all the way through, nor have I ever even started watching Love Actually.
  7. I have a phobia of things with too many legs. That’s the reason for my fear of spiders. (Someone explain why they need 8 legs please). I hate millipedes, centipedes – honestly writing this right now is making me shudder.

Here are some of my favourite blogs:

Breathe Rebecca, Breathe
Alex’s Planet in Pictures
Drifting into Exploration
Love, Life & Languages
¿Dónde Está Daisy?
Everything by Esther
The Londoner
Camilla Ackley and IntoTheFold Magazine
Joy Felicity Jane
Fashion Slave

I actually weirdly enjoyed doing that. Maybe if people want, (if anyone is actually reading this), I could do a Q&A type post. Let me know!

// Para mis españoles, quería hacer un video con todo la información de arriba para practicar mi español un poco. Si estáis interesado en esto decidme y lo haré!