How did we get here?

Mojo is a funny thing. Sometimes I have so much of it overspills out of my pores. Sometimes I have none at all and all I want to do is lay in my room in the dark and not do anything. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, mainly due to external forces but partly my own doing, as well. 

But here I am, writing a post after what seems like a lifetime. How is everyone? What have I missed? I’ll be attempting to catch up with the blogosphere once this is posted. It’s not that I haven’t missed the blogosphere, it’s just that I got to a point where I couldn’t bear to do anything. All I wanted to do was watch TV (mostly Steven Universe) and eat a lot of crap.

My writing has suffered so badly because of this. I haven’t written properly in months; not even a smidgen. Camp NaNoWriMo is next month, so I will be attempting that in order to get my creative juices flowing.

It’s been hard, people. I cannot lie. Even writing this now requires a lot of effort from me but the thing is I do want to do it – I just have no energy. I have been drained. It’s so weird. I’m slowly getting back to my old self, though. It had gotten to a point where people at work were starting to notice that I wasn’t myself but slowly but surely. I’ll be fine. Self-care is so important.

So, where do we go from here?

Blog Revamp ✨

As I’m sure you’ve noticed I have a new blog layout! It’s nothing fancy and if you’ve followed me for a long time, then I’m sure you know I love a minimal design. But seeing as I’m trying to creep back into the blogosphere, I thought I might as well come back with a new look. 

Writing 🖊️

As I mentioned, I’ll be attempting Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I really want to make some headway on my book. I have 50k+ words down already, for God’s sake. I hate myself for being such a procrastinator and I know the book will not be written by itself. I’m doing some brainstorming and coming up with some new ideas. I’m refusing to go back and touch what’s already been written because I know I’ll get sucked into a black hole and never come out to actually continue the story.

I’ll also be making a conscious effort to post more on the blog and my portfolio. There was once a time that I could churn out 3 blog posts in a day and nowadays it takes me a whole day just to think of half a post. That needs to change. Writing has always been my first love, and need to keep nurturing that if I want to get anywhere in life.

Reading 📚

I’m the sort of person who reads about 50 gagillion books at the same time. At the moment I’m reading:

  • This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • The Waste Lands by Stephen King
  • How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
  • Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

I also still have a summer reading list from like 2015 that I have yet to complete. To be a bookworm. If you have any other suggestions for new reads, though, my inbox is always open. 😬

Fitness Journey ⛹🏽

I attempt one every year and it always fizzles out, but I’m trying really hard this year guys. I’ve been to the gym more frequently with Mutay and it’s been amazing. I’ve found I don’t have to post every time I go to the gym just to hold myself accountable. Not everyday social media. Do the #gainz for yourself, right? Been busting that 4.4L of water every day – my skin is a lot clearer than it used to be, although not the best. I think it’s because I love alcohol too much, but irrelevant.

Self Care 💆

I’ve realised that self-care doesn’t mean locking yourself in your room and wallowing in self-pity. Actually, I knew that already and I’ve written before about what to do to cultivate positivity. I must confess that I sometimes don’t listen to my own advice. Have you ever found that it’s so much easier to give other people advice, but when it comes to listening to yourself it is so much harder? Television is so cathartic for me. It is my greatest escape tool and I will always default to it when nothing else works. I’ve been listening to podcasts and music. Simple pamper sessions: sheet mask, painting my nails, bubble bath, Netflix – they do wonders for me. Little, little things to try and get me back on track.

Clear Out 🗑️

The thing I’ve been attempting to do since last year is clear out my wardrobe. There are so many clothes that I own that I know I will never, ever wear again but for some reason, I’m still hanging onto them. I keep telling myself that on my days off, I’ll start my clear out but I never do. I have no idea how I’m going to get around to it, I just know that I need to. Especially as I basically just wear the same clothes everyday, anyway. It’ll be so refreshing, as well.

That’s where I’m going from now on. You know that song by Miley Cyrus? The Climb.

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

Hot damn. Deuces, for now. ✌️

 

I last went to Prague about 5 years ago but didn’t have the pleasure of exploring the city as much as I would have liked to. When my friend suggested we go to Prague, I jumped at the chance. An opportunity to go away and just forget all the stress and worries of real life? Yes, please, thank you, sir! We found a really good package deal via British Airways, so it was really a no-brainer. So on April 24th, we flew out to the wonderful city of Prague to start my first adventure of the year.

Want to know what to visit, where to eat or what to do when in Prague? Be sure to read on and take notes! 📝

MUST SEE

  • WENCESLAS SQUARE

Our first full day consisted of 15,866 steps. That is a helluva lot of walking. We started off by attempting to find Wenceslas Square. Google decided to take us on a complete hike, but luckily we found a quicker way after that first trek. The weather was so beautiful, so we decided to chill in the square for a bit before continuing our journey.

Wenceslas Square is one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic

  • OLD TOWN SQUARE

After Wenceslas Square, we made our way to Old Town Square. Old Town Square is a historic square in the Old Town quarter of Prague. There are many buildings displaying different architectural styles in the square and it was such a beautiful sight to take in. We made our way to the Old Town Hall Tower, as the Astronomical Clock is currently under repair. For 250 CZK (£8/$11) you can go up the tower and witness astounding views of Old Town. 

  • CHARLES BRIDGE

After taking many photos in the square, we made our way to Charles Bridge. Charles Bridge is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished at the beginning of the 15th century.

We walked over that bridge many times during our trip and it never got old. It is absolutely amazing and is decorated with about 30 statues and statuaries, depicting saints and patron saints. It is such a beautiful bridge to walk over especially when the weather is gorgeous.

The Crucifix and Calvary on Charles Bridge

  • DANCING HOUSE

After making it to the other side of the bridge, we decided to try and find the Dancing House. Also given the nickname Fred and Ginger, the Dancing House is located on the Rašín Embankment – it is not the typical Baroque, Gothic or Art Noveau designs that Prague is famous for but I definitely loved it and it is very different to any building I’ve ever seen. 

  • PRAGUE CASTLE

I was genuinely expecting to find a grand castle upon us deciding to go to Prague Castle, only to find out it’s actually a castle complex consisting of palaces, churches, gardens, etc. It was still a very interesting place to visit and they even had a changing of the guards. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world!

There are several types of tickets you can get when visiting the castle (because come on, what tourist attraction is really free these days?) – we chose Circuit B for 250 CZK (£9/$11) which allowed us to visit St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica and Golden Lane.

I’ve mentioned before that I love cathedrals and St. Vitus’ was no exception. I was astonished by the stained glass windows and even though the cathedral was chock full of tourists, I still felt at peace somewhat. I wanted to light a candle, but they had these fake ones which I don’t fw, tbh.

One of the stain glass windows in St. Vitus Cathedral

The cathedral was my favourite part of the circuit, but I did enjoy the Old Royal Palace which apparently holds a copy of the Czech crown (I didn’t see) and St. George’s Basilica. I also really liked Golden Lane, with its cute brightly coloured buildings. 

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. George’s Basilica

  • LENNON WALL

Rather randomly, there is a Lennon Wall located in Prague which we had to visit. It was once an ordinary wall but has since been filled with Lennon-inspired graffiti. Also a little further down from the wall is a small bridge with lover’s locks (eye roll).

  • BETHLEHEM CHAPEL

We never actually got to go inside the chapel because it looked like renovations were taking place so we ended up having to just take pictures of the outside. The Bethlehem Chapel is a medieval religious building in the Old Town of Prague, notable for its connection with the origins of the Bohemian Reformation.

  • OLD NEW SYNAGOGUE

This is Europe’s oldest active synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of Prague. We didn’t go inside the synagogue either but just observed the outside. It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague’s community is kept.

  • JOSEFOV (THE JEWISH QUARTER)

This town quarter was once the Jewish ghetto of the town. Most of the quarter was demolished between 1893 and 1913 as part of an initiative to model the city on Paris. What was left were only six synagogues, the old cemetery, and the Old Jewish Town Hall. There were a few stalls that we visited selling their wares and I bought a bracelet from one of them.

DINE

Before we arrived, I had already done research on some restaurants that were considered really good according to TripAdvisor and Time Out. I already knew that I was looking to eat well when I was out in Prague and wanted to get a scope of the different kinds of food they had there. 

  • KAVARNA ADRIA

This cafe is reportedly visited by many locals and is located on the second floor of Palac Adria. We got to sit out on the terrace for dinner, making the whole experience even better. Offering both local and international dishes, Kavarna Adria had an extensive menu. I already knew what I was going to order before I’d even stepped into the cafe – beef goulash with Vienna onion and speck dumplings.

This is the sort of meal that will send you to SLEEP. The beef was deliciously tender, the gravy was rich and meaty and the dumplings rounded it off perfectly. I thought it was decently priced at 199 CZK (£6/$9). I also ordered a tequila sunrise because you can’t go wrong with cocktails. 

It was really relaxing sitting out on the terrace above all the hustle and bustle of Central Prague. The service was good, with the waiter being nice and friendly. Would definitely visit again!

  • GEORGE PRIME STEAK

I wanted to be bougie for one night and, to be honest, you can’t get any bougier than George Prime Steak. Also, I really love steak!!

I immediately felt fancy as soon as I stepped into the restaurant; the ambience was amazing. Amazing setting and location – the atmosphere was relaxing, the chairs comfortable and the food delicious. 

We didn’t get this, however, a waiter goes around with a display of the various cuts and gives recommendations on how they should be cooked. I always go for my steak medium rare, anything above is atrocious.

I ordered a T-bone steak (2 for 1, baby) with creamed mash potato and stir-fried baby bok choy. I could have eaten it all over again if I could! I also ordered one of their signature handcrafted cocktails – PAPA REVOLUTION: Bulleit Bourbon, Bitters, DON PAPA RUM, Roger Groult Calvados, Passionfruit Puree, Touch Of Apricot. So yummy! If you can’t tell, cocktails are my weakness.

Although pricey according to Prague standards, I would not hesitate to come back again.

  • CAFE LOUVRE

This cafe offers a garden area and an indoor eating area. We decided to sit outside because how often do you get to eat outside especially if you live in London? It may look high end but the friendly staff make you feel right at home. Excellent food, excellent service – what more can I say?

I ordered the pork tenderloin marinated in garlic and rosemary, smoked meat-stuffed dumplings and stewed cabbage. There’s only so much cow you can have. It was absolutely delicious. The sauce complimented the meat and the dumplings were there to soak up all the deliciousness.

Again, decently priced at 219 CZK (£7/$10) so definitely a place I would visit again. 

  • TRDLO

Trdlo or trdelník is very popular pastry in Prague. Everywhere we went there were loads of trdelník shops and it smelt so sweet and yummy! We had just walked over Charles Bridge for the 1000th time and decided to stop by one of the shops and try this delicious snack.

It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and cinnamon. I went for the Vanilla Dream – vanilla, strawberries and whipped cream. It was so good!

DRINK

  • HEMINGWAY BAR

This is the cutest bar I have ever been in! Inspired by Ernest Hemingway, this little bar specialises in freshly mixed cocktails. We were lucky to get a seat because apparently it does get quite busy. 

The server we had was amazing! She explained each of our cocktails to us in such detail. There was many to choose from on their menu.

Firstly, I opted for the Candy Shop – Pisco spirit, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, raspberry purée, rhubarb bitters, egg white, soda water, pop rock candy, homemade figue marshmallow. Our server suggested I take a bite of the marshmallow and then a sip of the drink, which I did and it was so yummy! Sweet and sour at the same time.

For my next cocktail I ordered the Magic Moment – Beefeater gin, mallow and nettle cordial, magic moment. If you’ve been on my Instagram then you’ll have already seen what the “magic moment” is, but it sure was pretty and pink! The drink was quite strong and I’m not usually a gin drinker, but I did enjoy this one.

MUST DO

  • SEGWAY EXPERIENCE PRAGUE

My colleague at work suggested that we do a Segway tour and after finding pamphlets for it in our hotel, we decided that it was going to happen. I had the BEST time doing the tour. We were lucky enough to actually get a private tour because no one else turned up and so basically paid group price for a private tour. It also ended up being longer than the allotted time, so we got even more for our money.

Our guide, Peter, was amazing! He was so patient with us as we learned the ropes and was full of amazing historical facts about Prague. If you ever go to Prague and do this tour, see if you can get Peter because he is the best.

Peter took us to a few monasteries including Strahov Monastery and Brevnov Monastery. As we approached Strahov Stadium we also got to freestyle in the parking lot which was a lot of fun! We didn’t get to see inside the stadium because it was blocked by sandbags. We also got to go through Ladronka Park and visit the village estate of Spiritka. 

It was such a fun experience whizzing through Prague on a Segway and I would definitely do it again!

  • DRUNKEN MONKEY PUB CRAWL

…..

…….

All I can really tell you is that there a 2-hour open bar and beer pong. And really good music. And really fun, crazy, amazing staff. 

What I can’t tell you is what happens after you leave the Drunken Monkey because girl. Anyway, if you’re looking for a lit last night in Prague then I would definitely recommend. I just wouldn’t recommend mixing your drinks. ✌🏾

HOLD ONTO YOUR FUCKING PHONE XD

… can be difficult especially in the age of social media. So often, I’ve scrolled through my Instagram feed or Twitter timeline and felt myself sinking into an abyss because I see that people are having a better run at life than I am. But then I remember that social media is a highlight reel, and unless they turn around and show it then I’m not going to see that person’s bad days. 

But how to cultivate positive thinking when my phone is an extension of my hand and I have no self-control to speak of yet, so can’t just switch off just like that? I try to use it to my advantage. I listen to podcasts that get me pumped throughout the week (The Receipts Podcast, Say Your Mind, 2 Dope Queens (as of recent)) and I try to focus on social media posts that talk about the person’s achievements or specifically positive thinking.

Outside of that, if I’m feeling down I resort to my go-to definitely going to put me in a positive mood – reading. My cousin recently gifted me Lilly Singh’s book ‘How To Be A Bawse’ (thank you so much, bby girl, I love you, you the best) and whilst the majority of it is stuff I already know, the way she writes make it so relatable and got me thinking, “Okay, Chynna. Don’t just soak up this advice. DO something with it.”

This past week has been so up and down internally for me. So despite getting good news during the middle of the week, I was still in a foul mood all day. It wasn’t until I listened to something that my mood immediately lifted. I ended the day laughing and smiling and feeling so inspired. It’s amazing how a little thing can immediately turn your mood around.

It’s not going to be easy to be in a positive mindset 24/7. Allowing yourself to have a ‘bad’ day, so to speak, is still good for you. Just to acknowledge that these are feelings you are allowed to have. 

Small ways to cultivate positive thinking:

  • Listen to a funny podcast like 2 Dope Queens
  • Read a book and get lost in a new world
  • Write down what you’re grateful for
  • Crank up some happy music and have a boogie
  • Read more of my blog 😉

If I could I would quit my job and go travelling. And whilst I know that there are jobs out there that will allow me to travel and work at the same time, I don’t know if that is something I could do. Perhaps with time and research, it could become a possibility but for now, I like the fact that I have a stable paycheck which allows me to save and then go to the places that I really want to go.

So, in saying that I, of course, have a travel bucket list. Mutay and I sat down when we went to Edinburgh last February and came up with a master list of places that we want to travel too, and boy it was long.

I had a look at the Destination2 website the other day for some more inspiration because the world is such a huge and wonderful place, and ideally, I would love to visit everywhere. Mutay and I are looking to go to LA this year (hi, Nancy 😉), and I’m already planning to go to the Philippines next year in December. Hopefully, next year will be the year that I get to visit more places!

Without further ado, here is my travel bucket list for 2018.

Iceland

Every time I surf the web I swear I see adverts with deals to Iceland. Which, of course, increases the need to visit Iceland. Who wouldn’t want to see the Northern Lights? The Blue Lagoon? Go on a Puffin Express cruise? Go on a hot spring adventure? The closest I’ve been is a stopover in Reykjavik when I was flying to New York, but I want more than a stopover!

Hawaii

I watch a lot of Just Kidding News and they are always going to Hawaii. There is always a sense of FOMO whenever I watch the vlogs of them visiting Hawaii because it looks glorious. Gorgeous beaches, good food and from what I can tell the friendliest people. I want to be greeted at the airport with a lei. I want to visit the Volcanoes National Park, take in scenic views of Waipio Valley and soak in all the culture possible.

Dubai

My friend moved out to Dubai middle of last year and every time she posts a photo on Instagram my heart is screaming, “BOOK A TICKET. JUMP ON A PLANE. GO GO GO.” You can go to Dubai with Destination2 and from just looking around they have some really good deals, so it’s possible I’ll be heading there sooner than you think. I know a few people who have been to Dubai and have had such a blast! There are so many things to do like the Aquaventure Waterpark, taking a helicopter ride for some amazing satellite views or visiting Burj Khalifa, a mega tall skyscraper that would probably make me crane my neck like no man’s business.

Singapore

This country has been on my list for the longest time (most likely fuelled from a stopover I took when I went to the Philippines – notice how I’m always stopping over but not visiting?). I’m always seeing photos on Instagram of the Gardens by the Bay which looks so colourful and futuristic. They also have Universal Studios and I love a theme park and who wouldn’t want to stay at Marina Bay Sands and enjoy the world’s largest infinity pool?

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Dear Chynna,

I’ve always written letters to our past selves, but really what good will that do? We can’t go back and change the past, we can only learn from it. I thought that this time around, we’d have a go at writing to our future self.

I also didn’t want to write a generic letter that states the goals that I want to be achieved at this certain time, blah blah blah. I’m still at a stage in my life where I don’t know exactly where I want to be in say 5 years time. I just know that I want us to be happy, as cheesy as that sounds, and have a book published. Whether we’ll be in a long-term relationship or by ourselves, as long as we’re happy that is all that matters.

Ideally, we should be settled, living away from home and in a job that makes us financially stable. I think those are realistic expectations, so it’s all about taking the steps to achieve these goals. 

In the pursuit of happiness, things get difficult but it’s what we do that makes the difference. Do we just sit there and moan and complain that nothing is going right? Or do we stand up and do something about it? 

Life has its ups and downs but with a good support system then you know that things are going to be okay. Life is not perfect but that’s what makes it fascinating, exciting, amazing. If we let all the bad shit that happens to us get in the way then we would be worn down to a husk of a human being.

When we feel like crying, let it out. When we feel down, find someone to talk to. When you feel happy, share that with someone. When something good has happened in your life, shout it from the rooftops!

I am a firm believer in karma – put good into the universe, and you will be rewarded, no matter how small. No one needs negative vibes – we only subscribe to positive ones. 

Of course, not every day will be a good day – it’s unrealistic to expect that but if we go about life with a positive mindset and just keep doing us then it’s going to be alright. The goals we’ve set, we will have achieved by now because you know what? We. Got. This. 

Love and peace, baby girl. We the best.

Chynna x

A Letter to my 16-year old self | A Letter to my 18-year old self