Monthly musings; September 2019

And just like that, summer is over. While I’m certainly sad to say goodbye to the summer, I am very much looking forward to giving myself (and my wallet!) a break.

September is a special month because it marks one month until my birthday! I’m determined to make this last month count and to kick off 27 with renewed energy. What better way to do that than by having a self-care September?

Here’s what I have in mind.

have a sober September

Here’s the thing. I LOVE a good glass of wine and a pint at the pub. And if your summer was anything like mine, it was full of weekend getaways, holidays, weddings, picnics, visits from friends and lots (and I mean LOTS) of rosé.

I certainly don’t regret a single glass of wine or a single pint, but after a summer of gluttony my energy is lower than it normally is and if I’m being honest, some days I just feel gross!

Everyone needs a good detox now and again. With this reset I’ll hopefully enter 27 with renewed energy and feeling good mind, body and soul.

put away the phone

Have you ever taken a look around during your morning commute? If you have, you’ve probably noticed that 95% of people spend their commutes glued to their phones. Whether they’re reading emails, sending text messages, listening to Spotify or watching a video, most people spend that time looking at a screen.

I feel like I’ve been spending a bit too much time glued to my phone lately, so this month I want to cut down on my phone usage. I plan to be more intentional with when I use my phone and what I use it for, and just MAYBE minimise some of that mindless scrolling that I catch myself doing all too often.

practise gratitude

I recently bought something called the ‘Daily Greatness Journal’. It’s a practical guide for consciously creating your days and is designed to get you to live more intentionally, set goals, and help you to live a more fulfilled life.

I started using it back in July but quickly fell out of the habit because I didn’t make it a priority. This month my goal is to use the journal daily and to to use the guides and templates included in the journal to lay the groundwork for a more intentional life.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in take a look at https://dailygreatness.co/. Who knows? It might resonate with you; and if it does, we can go on the journey together!

have one new experience per week

This is going to be a continual goal because it’s easy to forget but it’s important to do!

When you live in a city as big as London, there is an endless supply of places to go and things to do/see. In the winter months I usually go into hibernate mode and find myself exploring the city less and less. This month, I want to make sure that I keep exploring and experience one new thing per week. Or as my Dad would say, ‘go out and do something new!’

tell me, what are some of your goals for September?

With love, V.

Monthly musings; July 2019

It's July. JULY! Somehow we're already into the second month of summer. 

June was a busy month for me and I unfortunately didn't set any goals for the month as part of my Monthly Musings. Instead, I went home for 10 days and caught up with friends and family, spent 6 glorious days at my favourite place (link), watched my best friend marry the love of her life. And there’s no better way to pass the time, if you ask me.

I could berate myself for not doing it, thinking about how I should have done better and it's a shame that I let it slide. There’s no value in this though, and I'm trying to shift away from using negative words like should and instead looking at things a little differently. I certainly could have set goals for the month of June and I could have taken the time to write about it. But I didn't, and that's okay!

Now that I’m successfully recovered from the wedding and settled back into my daily routines, it’s time to refocus for the month of July.

Here’s what I have in mind.

read one book per week

To call myself bookish as a kid may be an understatement. I absolutely adored reading and could often be found with my nose buried in a book during lunch or long care rides. I’d sometimes stay up until 3am just to finish a book because I was too impatient to wait until morning to pick it up again.

Somewhere along the way that obsession began to fade, taken over by Spotify tunes, drinks with friends, and Netflix nights. I’d started Becoming by Michelle Obama weeks ago but after about 60 pages I put it down in a corner of my room and left it there untouched. Yesterday I picked it up and went to the Common to continue reading and I’ve barely put it down since.

So this month I’m going to aim to get my eyes off of Netflix and my nose back into books by reading one book per week. If you have any suggestions, please comment below!

complete 30 days of intermittent fasting

I’ve said before that I’ve worked hard at getting myself into a good gym routine over the past few months. I’m officially now a gym junkie, in love with the grind and addicted to how much better it makes me feel (physically, mentally, spiritually, all of it).

Recently though I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a plateau. I’m definitely getting stronger, but it doesn’t feel like I’m seeing any results. I have friends and family who have done intermittent fasting over various periods of time, all to positive reviews.

So I thought ‘Why not? I’ll give it a shot.’

I’m fairly confident that I’ll be able to do it without slip ups and am curious to see what happens at the end of day 30. Wish me luck!

get outside as much as possible

Sometime last year my Dad mailed me a picture frame with the saying ‘Go outside and do something great’ framed inside.. Now that Summer has arrived and the Sun in London has arrived with it, I want to revel in it while it lasts.

Days that turn into nights on the Common, grabbing a pint at one of London’s dozens of outdoor pubs, walking along the River Thames during my lunch break - I mean really, what can be better than that?

have one new experience per week

This is going to be a continual goal because it’s easy to forget but it’s important to do!

When you live in a city as big as London, there is an endless supply of places to go and things to do/see. In the winter months I usually go into hibernate mode and find myself exploring the city less and less. This month, I want to make sure that I keep exploring and experience one new thing per week. Or as my Dad would say, ‘go out and do something new!’

tell me, what are some of your goals for July?

With love, V.

3 benefits of international friendships

One of the best things about a city like London is how international it's residents are; it's an incredibly dynamic city made up of people from all corners of the world. When you live abroad, it's important to become friends with people from your adopted country - after all, you did move there for a reason! - but it's equally important to make connections with other expats.

I've somehow managed to reel in a group of twenty-something Aussies who, like me, packed up and moved to London. I don't really know how to describe them other than to say that they are an adventurous, inviting, supportive and hysterically sarcastic group of people that I feel lucky to call my friends. Our WhatsApp group description probably sums them up best:

'A group of dysfunctional Aussies who accidentally got on a plane to London instead of Brisbane and their token American friend (that's me!), now 30% Aussie), who decided to huddle together as a means of survival and drinking in excess without going bankrupt.'

In the span of just a few months they have had a positive impact on my life and it got me thinking about the benefits of international friendships.

1. They encourage discovery

When you become friends with people from other countries you have a unique opportunity to open your eyes and learn about new cultures.

You get to hear stories from your friends of cities that you've never visited and lands you've never seen. You learn about what life is like and can talk with each other for hours about the similarities and differences between where you're both from and also to your adopted home. You might also travel and experience new cultures together, broadening your view of the world and challenging your perceptions of it.

Incredible things happen when you find people with the same taste for adventure and discovery and passion for new beginnings.

Together you can discover more about yourselves and others than you ever thought possible.

2. They provide a sense of belonging

When you meet fellow expats it feels the same as if you'd randomly met someone who went to your University or supports the same football (American or otherwise) team as you. There's an instant connection - a mutual understanding and common ground between you.

Why?

Because they either have felt, or are feeling, all of the same things you are and you can take comfort in knowing that you are understood.

Quite simply, they get it!

When living abroad it's easy to feel like you don't really belong anywhere, but you can belong to each other. You have a network of people that can provide support when you need it and who allow you to be who you are without fear of rejection.

Suddenly you 'fit' again.

3. They give you memories to last a lifetime

Your friendships won't stay the same forever; some of your friends will move back home, move elsewhere, or make the decision to stay.

Even though the friendships may change, you will always share the memories that you made together. Someday you'll tell your own families about the friends you made while you lived abroad and the adventures you had. If you're lucky, you'll still be in touch.   

This is the beauty of international friendships.

They're not bound by borders or places, they're bound by the bond between you.

sunshine.jpg

The friendships you make while living abroad are special. One of the girls in our group, Emma, tells us at least twice (minimum) each time we see each other how happy she is we're friends. We tease her about it often, but I think I can say that we all feel the same way.

I am so grateful to each and every one of the amazing friendships I've made in the last year. How have you found making international friends? Leave a comment below if you can relate!

With love, V