Monday, 30 May 2016

Treat Yo Self / Love Yo Self

Jumpsuit: Topshop
Shoes: ASOS
Sunglasses: Oysho

Confession time - I've owned this jumpsuit for almost one year and despite writing this post about it, I've never worn it out of the house. I went for a personal stylist shopping session in Topshop last year and let the stylist talk me into this. I was feeling confident, bold and snazzy in it so before I knew I walked to the till with it.

Once I got home I chickened out in classic Nina fashion and it's hung in the back of my extremely tightly packed wardrobe ever since.

I think I've said this so many times on here, but ever since I was 14 I don't think I've ever been happy with my body. In my head I know that if I stuck to some food rules and a gym routine then I could probably in all likelihood have that body I've always wanted. But despite some deep self hatred I can't find the motivation to stick to it. I also think that even if I managed to get what I perceive to be the 'perfect body', I still wouldn't be happy because I can fix what's on the outside but not what's running through my mind.

My body is wobbly, I'm sure I have cellulite on the backs of my legs but I don't care to check. My arms most certainly wobble and flap about, I hate wearing things without sleeves. My stomach jiggles and I can't remember a time when it was flat. I shy away from wearing things that cling to me.

With all that said, since early 2015 I've taken to running. I started off slow, it was hard and sweaty work. But in March 2016 I ran my first 10km race in 1 hour and 11 minutes. I'm due to run the Cardiff Half Marathon this October.

What running has taught me is that whilst my body wobbles and jiggles about the place, it can still do amazing things that it couldn't do before. With that vague confidence in mind this weekend I decided to finally wear this jumpsuit for its maiden voyage because if I can run a 10km race then I can bloody well wear a sleeves clingy stripy jumpsuit for a day out with one of my best friends.  So I did just that, and you know what? The world didn't stop moving and in fact, nobody cared about my body hang ups because everyone, including myself, was having too much fun in the sun living life.

I get so annoyed by myself and that my own self consciousness gets in the way of me doing what I want to do and wear what I want to wear. So this is me doing what I want to do and wearing what I want to wear despite what inner Miss Self Conscious says.

The moral of the story is, if you see something you want to wear - wear it. Treat yourself to it, wear it and feel amazing because you most certainly are. Don't let the negative voices in the back of your head get louder and talk you out of it.

"Accept who you are; and revel in it."

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Saturday, 28 May 2016

How To Be Alone Part 4: Stay Home

Joy Shared Mug - Heads Above The Waves

Home is where the heart is right? 

My little slightly rusty heart is curled up in my small 1 bed, open plan kitchen and living room flat on the second floor of a beautiful Victorian converted house. Visitors include my nearest and dearest and my landlord when he has to sign for my parcel or when the pipe under my sink breaks.

I've always been someone who has had to have a cosy safe haven. Especially since working full time having that special space I can retreat to is high on my priority list.

With so much going on in the 'outside' world it's easy to feel guilty about staying in. That dreaded Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) kicks in and you're furiously scrolling through Instagram wondering what everyone else is up to without you.

Of course I get that feeling of missing out as well, and there are some Sundays where unless I meet up with a friend for a walk, I can go a whole day without speaking to anyone. Once in a while it is good to just take some time away from everything and unwind.

I desperately need alone time regularly. I need to stay in my flat with the windows thrown wide open so the fresh air comes in. I need to curl up in bed with some new book and endless cups of tea. 

So how do you go about staying home and making the most of it?
  • Put the kettle on and have your favourite tea to hand
  • Make yourself your favourite breakfast, mine is either pancakes or french toast - these are quick and easy to make with things you should always keep stock piled
  • Take your fresh tea and breakfast back to your room and breakfast in bed like the royalty that you are
  • Have a bath in the middle of the day, there's nothing more luxurious or decadent than pampering yourself in the afternoon and then nesting for the rest of the day. Then lie in your towel on your bed for hours just napping
  • Have a clean out listening to your favourite playlist, a clean space will make you feel more relaxed and cosy
  • Pull some books of your bookshelf that you've been meaning to read for ages and pile them by your bed for easy access
  • Gather all your blankets and settle on the sofa with your favourite Netflix show - snacks are compulsory. Some of my current favourite shows to marathon are Grace and Frankie and Peaky Blinders
  • Alternatively watch some feel good favourites, my films of choice are Roman Holiday and Austenland
  • Wrap up your day with a face mask and your favourite home cooked meal
What are some of your stay home tips?

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Nina Travels - BCN | Part 2

Our second full day in BCN stated off with us getting up early(ish) to get our tickets for the Pablo Picasso Museum. Again as with Parc Güell you have to get tickets for a certain entry time. We got lucky and got a fairly early entry, but there was still time for brunch before our time slot so that was music to my ears.

We stumbled upon one of Fiona's listed brunch spots by accident - Milk Bar and Bistro. I'm a huge lover of brunch and this one hit the spot perfectly. It's located in the Gothic quarter so we took a stroll around this amazing neighbourhood to walk off our food babies.

The Gothic quarter was one of my favourite experiences in Barcelona. Even just walking around it you can just feel this different type of energy to elsewhere in the city.

I loved looking up at all the buildings and peeking into people's flats (as I type this I realise how creepy that sounds). I'm so envious of all the Barcelona inhabitants and their high ceilings and wrought iron balconies. It reminded me so much of my year abroad, it was actually a bit nostalgic.

My absolute highlight of our trip was the Picasso Museum. Sadly I couldn't take any photos inside, I didn't fancy the wrath of the security guards so the above snap of the courtyard had to do.

We splashed out on a ticket with an audio guide to get the full experience. I've found that in some museums audioguides can be overwhelming and get a bit boring after a while. Not the case here. The audioguide offered a great insight into the paintings and the background of Picasso. We got to see some of the drawings that would later evolve into Guernica and the fascinating Las Meninas and The Pigeons series. 

The fact that the entry time was restricted to a certain number of people meant that whilst the museum was busy, it wasn't overwhelming and you didn't have to elbow anyone out of the way to see the paintings like you do in some places (looking at you Mona Lisa in the Louvre..).

Post the Life of Pablo we headed up to Montjuïc

We took the cable car all the way up to the hill and got some amazing views of Barcelona which were very different to the views we saw in Parc Güell. It was great way to see a slightly different side of the city, from one of the viewpoints we got a closer look at the ports and the beach.

Our next stop was the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya which in my opinion is probably one of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona. The view over the city was breathtaking and you could see some of the buildings that were developed for the 1992 Olympic Games.

It was great to take a few minutes to sit in the blazing sun and just look out at the city. The sheer size of Barcelona is actually a bit overwhelming 

So whilst the view from the museum is stunning, the view up to it so also pretty amazing.

The Palace was constructed between 1926 and 1929, with the goal of being the main building of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, holding an Exhibition of Spanish Art named El Arte en España (The Art of Spain). More than 5,000 works came to the Exhibition from across Spain.  I can't imagine the sheer manpower that went into building something so beautiful and then continuing to add to it.

Exhausted and hot from a long day of walking all over Barcelona we hopped back onto the metro and took a quick rickshaw ride down to the beach. This was the perfect way to wind down from our busy day. I braved dipping my feet into the water which turned out to be freezing and a wave caught me unawares so I just ended up with soaked jeans.

Sitting on the beach in Barcelona was a similar experience to Rio, sellers persistently try and flog their ready made mojitos and various snacks. One lady was even offering massages on the beach.

After resting and relaxing we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a night out in the W Hotel which you can see in the pictures below. We got our glad rags on and headed to the 26th floor to the Eclipse Bar. It was a fun experience of the Spanish nightlife, although by 2:30am Fiona and me were ready to call it a night. That and the fact that two gin and tonics came to €23. 

Sadly this is the end of my BCN photo roll. I'm already prepared to jump back on that plane. Even though this was my second visit I feel like there is still so much to explore, I'll most certainly keep my passport close to hand for a third visit.

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