2016-over

With the new year just around the corner, I’m taking the opportunity, like so many others on my feed, to reflect on the wonderful year that has been 2016. The highlights of the past year have undoubtedly outshone the heartbreaks. Upon reflection of the last 366 days, there have been real ups and downs in almost every aspect of life. I’m still unsure whether each passing year is growing more sensationalistic or I’m simply growing more cynical.

2016 has been a year of change. The memories I’ve shared with friendships (both new and old) have shaped the year. Some of my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions have been fulfilled, others less so, (needless to say eating healthier is on the list again for 2017!) One of the commitments I’m proud to have followed through with, is leaving that which does not bring me happiness in the past. I’ve discovered what I truly enjoy doing and found comfort in my own talents, and most of all – I’ve achieved self-acceptance.

Having struggled with my body image in the past, I’m so thankful to have reached the point where my body brings me happiness. This has inspired the first of my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions: to eat a healthy, balanced diet and improve my fitness. This includes adopting a vegan diet from the beginning of January, and hopefully continuing this on throughout the year. I want to take care of my body a little more this year.

Having previously spent too much of my university life pandering to the wants of ‘friends’, the decision to leave all the negative people in the past and move on was nothing but positive for me. Closing the doors on certain friendships has not been regretted for a single second. Making a conscious effort to really connect with all the people I consider important to me, I’ve formed a strong circle of friends that I’d do anything for. However, a key component of any friendship is respect, and slowly I’ve come to realise that some friendships are lacking a mutual respect and in 2017 I’m committing to a second New Year’s Resolution: to find mutual love and respect in all my relationships, and in those where this is unachievable, to walk away promptly. There is nothing more damaging than a toxic relationship where there should be love and affection.

My final New Year’s Resolution also piggy-backs off a successful resolution from the previous year: to work hard and be organised with my studies, work and personal life. I’m proud of how much I’ve achieved in the past year, working two jobs in my most challenging academic year whilst volunteering and growing up a hell of a lot, however personally I feel there is room for improvement and so in 2017 I hope to maintain my work ethic for longer than the first few weeks of term!

Remaining quietly hopeful for the year ahead, I have a feeling it’s going to be a memorable one.

palace

Yesterday, my best friend and her sister invited me to travel with them to London to attend a surprise gig that our favourite band Palace was putting on in the run up to their first album release on Friday the 4th of November.

The gig itself was free, and secret, and so we navigated our way to Notting Hill with a drink in hand, nursing the Halloween sized hangover from the night before. Upon arrival, we were offered a free beer and shown to our seats in a small room. There were only a few dozen other fans attending and the entire thing was filmed on Facebook Live.

They played a selection of their songs – in acoustic, with a few of the new songs that are yet to be released. After this, the floor was opened for a bit of a Q&A between the Palace and the audience.

Following the gig, we were given signed copies of their album poster and headed out into the night, a little bit starstruck. We managed to lose a poster instantly, and so headed back in to see if there were any left over, which luckily there was. But as we were leaving, we bumped into the lead singer, Leo and got chatting to him. He seemed really nice, even personally inviting us to their gig, which was amazing.

What an incredible night, a special thank you to Palace, and their record company – Fiction Records for putting on such a wonderful evening. And super special thank you to Josie for taking me as your plus one to the best night of my life (so far)!

MOROCCO. Meknes. Moulay Ismael Mausoleum. 1985.

Travel Journal: 01 – Madness in Marrakech

Last week, my boyfriend and I travelled through the night to the airport for a 10 night stay in Marrakech, Morocco. Marrakech, also known as ‘The Red City’, is one of the key cities of Morocco, located in North Africa. The temperatures of the city ranged somewhere between 30°C – 45°C during our stay where we managed to pick up a little tan! While much of the holiday was spent drinking the all you can drink cocktails by the pool, and reading our books, I thought I’d write about a few of our experiences, partly for others considering travelling there, and partly so I don’t forget the best bits of our holiday!

  1. Rooftop cafes
    Deep within the souks of the old city Medina, hides a small rooftop cafe called Kafé Merstan serving a variety of different foods with lovely staff. This had to be one of the best (and most relaxing!) experiences of the entire trip, we loved the views from the rooftop, looking out at the city of Marrakech and eating ice-creams. The food itself was amazing, we settled for avocado and crab salads and were served fresh breads and olives from the markets below. Cannot recommend this place enough!
    Several other rooftop restaurants serve alcohol with your meal, and we braved the souks one more time to visit Cafe Arabé for my boyfriend’s 21st birthday meal, which specialised in delicious Italian food. The night we chose to visit there was a storm and lightning was lighting up the skyline, it was quite something!

2. Ouzoud Falls
Nestled within the Atlas Mountains lies the impressive Ouzoud waterfall, which, over the course of a day, we hiked the mountain, ate a traditional Moroccan meal with the view of falls. The weather is cooler by the mountains and this was ideal for the hours walk. Children swam in the waterfall, however we did not, the water didn’t look clean and we’d been warned of the unsafe water. There were plenty of monkeys too, which was nice to see, several climbed on the British students who were also on the tour with us. All in all, I think everyone had a nice time, so I’d recommend it however, bring books and snacks for the 3.5 hour drive from Marrakech to the base of the waterfall!

3. Camel Riding in the Marrakech desert
One of the more exciting experiences of our trip was waking up at the crack of dawn to drive out into the middle of the desert just outside of Marrakech. The heat was beyond me, but I loved my camel, she loved having her ears scratched! After we rode across the desert, we were offered the tastiest Mint tea of our entire stay. Previously, I had been concerned about the camel welfare standards, having seen several saddening things over the course of the 10 days, but the camels seemed very happy and cared for. Would recommend this to other future travellers also!

In all honesty, while I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, I put that down to the company, I could be just about anywhere with my boyfriend and still be very happy. I found Marrakech very intense at times, somewhat dangerous and their conservative nature a little bewildering. The souks in the Medina were very mad indeed, but they were beautiful. The mountains of colourful spices and glowing lanterns – couldn’t help buying a couple – were so fascinating to wander through. Marrakech is not a holiday for the faint hearted, especially as most travellers end up getting lost in the city, thankfully we did not!

 One way or another, Marrakech ✓