I turned 25 last Monday and I’m still shook because I have no idea where time has gone. I swear it was only the other day that I was celebrating my 18th birthday by having a debut (complete with pink dresses, 18 roses and candles and a whole lot of cheese). Nancy reminded me today that she’s been following me since I was 18. That’s 7 years, guys. Half way to 50 and I’m pleased to say there are a few things I’ve learned along the way, so here are my 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years.

  1. Learn to love yourself before getting into a relationship. I think I’ve mentioned this before in a different post, but I feel the reason my previous relationships never worked out is that I never truly took the time to love myself. I still have a long way to go, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned then it’s definitely this.
  2. Trust your instinct. If it seems too good to be true, or if your stomach is doing that churning thing – get out of there, girl.
  3. Self-care is important. It definitely goes a long way, especially towards your mental health. Taking time for yourself will help maintain, protect and improve your well-being.
  4. Do not judge a book by its cover. This one speaks for itself, tbh. Basically, there will be people you meet in your life who you will judge, but try not to be so judgemental. You’ve no idea what that person is going through to make them the way they are.
  5. Stop apologising. Just be unapologetically you.
  6. Boys aren’t everything…
  7. … But food is.
  8. Writing is therapeutic and is the outlet for my soul. Without writing I have no idea where I’d be. I’m so glad I have this creative outlet to let all my emotions out. 
  9. It’s okay not to be okay. You do not have to be happy every single day and sometimes it’s okay to have a down day. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Learn from it.
  10. Travel. Travelling has truly made me appreciate the world that we live in. It has also made me thankful for the things that I have and the fact that I have the ability to visit amazing places year on year.
  11. My mother is always right. I mean.
  12. Support those who support you. It’s a two-way street! 
  13. Say yes to going out. Not everyday Netflix, you know. There have been a few work occasions where I’ve actually said yes and found myself having a good time!
  14. Life is too short to hate. It’s a very draining emotion, honestly. Just be kind.
  15. Save, save, save. I’m not gonna lie, you’ll most likely be poor in your 20s but if you save even a little bit, it goes a long way!
  16. It’s okay to cry. Sometimes you just gotta let it out.
  17. Everyone has their bad days. Yup! You can’t constantly be upbeat 24/7.
  18. Don’t compare your life with others. In an age of social media, it can be very easy to look at other people’s lives and wonder why yours isn’t as fulfilling as theirs looks, but that’s the keyword: looks. Everything we put on social media is a glossed version of what our lives truly are. So focus on yourself!
  19. I will never love anything as much as I love reading. How could I? It’s so easy to slip into another world and escape for a few hours and not worry about anything.
  20. Laughter is essential. Life can be exhausting! Laughter and good company can cure that.
  21. You gotta werk. Nothing in life is free, so if you want something you gotta werk for it. It’s all worth it in the end, though.
  22. You are who you are because of the people you surround yourself with. So you see that toxic person in your life? You better cut it.
  23. Failure is okay. Because before you can succeed, you have to fail – success will be all be sweeter that way, as well.
  24. Take loads of photos. Honestly, do it. Think in a couple of years you can look back on those photos and remember fond memories.
  25. Gratitude. I am thankful that I have reached the grand old age of 25 and I have the support of my friends and family and I’m actually doing okay. 👍🏾

Last little tidbit of wisdom: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Did anyone read An Inspector Calls when they were in school? I remember that play being one of my favourites in English, and we would have to read a page at a time in class but I skipped ahead because it was so intriguing.

An Inspector Calls is a play by J. B. Priestley which focuses on the upper-class Birling family. They are visited one evening by an Inspector Goole who is investigating the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith. I remember the twists and turns in the play that kept me gripped throughout and the ending had me shouting, “WHAT THE EFF?” 

Mutay and I went to see An Inspector Calls at Playhouse Theatre last March and it was AMAZING. 

I found out that this adaptation of An Inspector Calls is by Stephen Daldry who recently directed Netflix’s The Crown, which is fantastic, and that the production marks 25 years since it first opened at the National Theatre. 

We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.

I really enjoyed the actors’ performances especially Liam Brennan as Inspector Goole; he was unapologetically abrasive, projected barely suppressed rage, and was baffled by the Birling’s complacency. He had complete control of the play’s narrative, something which I noticed about the character when reading the play, and it was great to see that develop in front of my eyes. 

Every actor, however, seemed to fit their role perfectly. From Mr Birling’s pompous attitude because he may be getting a knighthood, Sheila’s childishness because Eva Smith happened to look better in a dress that she wanted, Eric’s drunkenness that is seemingly ignored until it all comes to a head and right down to Mrs Birling’s putting on airs and graces because she is the head of a women’s charity. Yet when a woman is in dire need of help, she rejects her.

I feel like this play is very relevant, especially now in today’s climate, and it can’t be a coincidence that this play opened soon after Donald Trump was elected as president. Despite being set in 1912, actually written in 1944, this play is timeless and can be interpreted as an attempt to align its morals and lessons to the politically turbulent ground we’ve currently been having.

Priestley’s play is a direct plea for all of us to remember that we should work together, not against each other.

“They’re your children? Are they adopted?”

I remember standing at the bus stop feeling like a melon because a random stranger had asked my mother this question. She was offended, as anyone rightly would be. I was left with a sense that despite my mix I could never truly express my Filipinxness. I felt ashamed.

When we think about identity, we usually focus on what we can see. If you were to look at me, you would probably be able to tell that I’m biracial. Living in London I have always had a sense of multiculturalism, which I know I am so blessed to have but growing up there was always a need to outwardly show where I am from.I have always been more drawn to my Filipinx side and this is perhaps in part because my mother brought me over to the Philippines starting from a young age. When I was younger staying out there was a blast. We would explore my mother’s hometown, reconnect with family members, travel to other parts of the Philippines. Nothing phased me. It wasn’t until recently when I visited that I started to notice things. Realistically, I have different facial features to the rest of my family and so I felt out of place. Alongside the fact that I don’t speak Tagalog, I felt set apart from my own family despite the fact that they would speak English around me.

Again, I felt ashamed because who am I to not even know my own mother tongue? Who am I to make them speak English just because of me? I should be the one making the effort to learn Tagalog, even just the bare minimum.

It doesn’t help that I have made no effort in learning about my roots on either side of my heritage. I know the basic history, but I have yet to dig deeper. 2017 will be the year I learn about my people. Their struggles and their strife. I want to ask my mother about what it was like growing up in the Philippines. I want to hear other people’s stories. I want to soak up all the knowledge I can.

I was struggling to bring together the seemingly conflicting parts of my Filipinx-Jamaican identity, but it’s only recently when I’ve been researching that I realised that they don’t have to be conflicting. When your parents are of distinctly different ethnic groups, you are sometimes made to feel that you have to “pick a side”, but this is not the case. I have an opportunity to use my identity to bring alight issues in both communities.

I can shout it from the rooftops that I am unapologetically Filipinx AND Jamaican, and both are truly wonderful. If I let go of this shame of not looking exactly like my mother or my father then I can truly start to free my mind and body.

In honor of Womxns History Month 2017, my friend AnneMarie has created a digital space for Womxn identifying / Femme Filipinx diaspora folks to reclaim the phrase “Walang Hiya”, which has been traditionally used to shame Filipinxs (Click here to read other stories and learn more).

I really tried to jump on the Blogmas band wagon, but I fell off way back when and it’s probably not going to happen. Now I’m just behind in my blog posts.. lol, such a failure.

This won’t be like my usual travel posts where I detail what I did on each day because honestly most of the days I spent sleeping and eating. It was much needed.

As y’all know, unless you don’t follow me on Instagram, I was recently in the Philippines for just under two weeks. It was mainly for family and for my Lola’s memorial as it has been a year since she passed away, but I did manage to squeeze some fun in. I honestly miss it so much, and I wish I was back there!

I got to spend some time in Tarlac, Manila and Boracay. If I had more time, I would have got to the other islands like Cebu or Palawan but there’s always next time! I’ll be doing a separate post for Boracay, which will be like my usual travel posts.

Every time we go to the Philippines we stay in Tarlac, which is a province in Central Luzon. My Lola’s house is right opposite the rice fields, so if you wake up super early you get to see the sun rise over them. It’s really pretty.

I spent the majority of the time eating myself into a food coma, so much so that I started to resemble Buddha’s twin sister. You could probably see my food baby from space. Honestly, I ate so much rice. I mean more so than usual. I’m paying for it now because when I got back my other Lola said that she could see the whole of the Philippines in my thighs. Yeah, love you too.

There was one morning where my mother woke up just so we could go to Tarlac Recreational Park in San Jose. I hadn’t showered, I still had my hair wrap on and I was still in my pyjamas. That sunrise was worth it (sort of). 

I guess the sunrise was worth it…

We also spent time in Manila and I got to meet up with Tiff. We had lunch at Victorino’s where they specialise in Ilocano food. The food was amazinggggg and it was so lovely to be able to meet up with Tiff whilst I was out there. I had to lay down in the back seat on the way home, haha. I will be writing a Food Diary post about Victorino’s for sure.

Was so lovely seeing Tiff again!

(Mang Bok’s pork liempo is what dreams are made of.)

After Manila, we headed back to Tarlac where we had Lola’s memorial. It was really nice and whilst the mass was in Tagalog and I didn’t understand, I got the gist. We had so many family and friends over for food afterwards; it was overflowing. I ended up getting overheated so I had to go and lie down for a bit after eating my weight in food. It was honestly such a lovely memorial. I always find it better to be happy when remembering someone – surrounding yourself with friends and family always helps.

Chef Baboy 🐷

Keeping Up With the (insert all the different surnames for my family here)

My last few days were spent chilling. I actually got to Almah Rousa Beauty Spa and had the best full body massage + ventosa cupping therapy. One of the most relaxing experiences in my life, ughhhh.

“Ventosa cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese alternative treatment that uses local  suctions on the skin to eliminate stagnation of the blood flow and promote healing for a variety of  health conditions such as colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, body pain, swelling and gastrointestinal disorders. It is also used to balance the qi and maintain a healthy physical well being.” – Cebu Spa & Wellness Guide

I ended up with circular bruises on my back, which lasted a couple of days but they didn’t hurt 🙂

Honestly, since coming back I’ve missed the Philippines so much. Mostly because of my family but the country itself it just goddamn amazing. The food, the atmosphere, the people, the beaches – what more could you really ask for?

m7rT4mRThis is actually the second time I’ve been nominated for the Liebster blog award – you can read the first post here. Meaghan nominated me for this award, so thank you! All you have to do is answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you and then you ask your own set of 11 questions to people you nominate! 🙂

1. What is one thing that makes you happiest?

Hmm. I would have to say writing because I can just let out all my emotions on paper and instantly feel better/happier. Also, food. And TV, come to think of it (sad life).

2. If you could live for a day as the opposite sex, would you?

Maybe. I don’t know. Would I have the same sort of thoughts as a girl but inside a guy’s body? Or would I start having guy thoughts? Because as a guy with girl thoughts, I’d constantly be wary of having a sudden boner or something.

3. What is your all time favorite food/dish?

Why would you even ask me that? Huuu. Anything with bacon. Or chicken. Just food in general, man. Don’t pressure me!

4. Which social network (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) do you use the most?

Instagram comes first. Then Twitter. Then Facebook to laugh at people I used to know.

5. How old were you when you had your first kiss? (If you haven’t had it yet, it’s okay!)

I was in year 3, so 7 years old. Leading slut life from early age. (… joke, obviously)

6. Android or iPhone? Why?

iPhone! Only because that’s all I’ve ever known and I’ve never used Android, so I can’t really compare.

7. Most used app on your phone?

Instagram for life.

8. Favorite TV show of all time?

DOCTOR WHO. DOC. TOR. WHO. DOCTOR WHOOOOOO.

9. Songs you listen to when you’re sad?

Childish Gambino because his lyrical puns give me life and I am no longer sad.

10. What is your hidden talent?

I honestly don’t think I have any talents. I mean I’m good at writing, but everyone knows that’s my thing. So, yeah.

11. Your biggest turn off?

People who pick their nose.

And here are my 11 questions:

  1. Do you believe in Karma or Fate?
  2. Do you have any special traditions for Christmas?
  3. What are your plans for New Years Eve?
  4. Last movie you’ve seen in the cinema?
  5. What are you looking forward to in 2014?
  6. What’s your dream holiday like?
  7. If you could live wherever you’d like to, where would you go?
  8. Favourite ice cream flavour?
  9. Last concert you’ve went to?
  10. What’s your family like (siblings etc?)
  11. Which languages would you like to learn?

I tag: Joy | Kayla | Sakura | Sophie | Merii-Beth

This post is a little later than usual, but that’s because it’s the Christmas season so I’ve been really busy. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! My cousin from America was with us this Christmas as she was in Rome studying and stopped over in London before going back to the US, so that was super fun. On Christmas Eve we took an unofficial Harry Potter tour which was awesome. The great thing about living in London is that you can just jump on any bus and tour all of London.

Our first stop was King’s Cross. We were there before to drop my cousin off at the station as she was going to

See ya later, guys. Have a good Christmas! I’ll be chilling with my Hogwarts pals

France, but we were there too early for the Harry Potter spot to be open. This time we got there around 10.30 and it was open! We had to line up to get our picture taken but it wasn’t too long of a queue and you get to choose which scarf you want to wear (I choose Slytherin. Represent!) and you can either take your own picture and also get it professionally taken which you can then buy in the Harry Potter shop. The shop is amazing! You can buy all sorts like hoodies with Platform 9 3/4 written on it, lanyards with a Hogwarts train ticket, chocolate frogs, every flavoured beans, wands, etc. I bought a badge with Platform 9 3/4 on it, a chocolate frog for my sister and my photograph!

The next stop was Piccadilly Circus where they filmed the cafe attack scene in Deathly Hallows Part 1. The cafe isn’t actually there, so you have to use your imagination but it was still loads of fun trying to guess which corner they filmed the scene on. It took us a while to get to Piccadilly Circus because we got caught in torrential rain, so we stopped in a cute little bubble tea shop called Mooboo. I got vanilla bubble tea with tapioca balls, and it was my sister’s first time having bubble tea and she loved it.

After Piccadilly Circus, we travelled to the Ministry of Magic aka Scotland Place! The phonebox used to get inside isn’t actually there, but my cousin managed to get a picture in the spot that Ron Weasley was, so win/win 🙂

Next stop was Gringotts Wizarding Bank aka Australia House. You can’t actually go inside, so we just got pictures standing outside.

After was a quick bus ride to Millenium Bridge. No worries, no dementors here!

We then took a bus to Borough Market where they filmed some of Diagon Alley. It was kind of hard to find which parts of the market they actually used, so you’ll have to use your imagination again here.

It was getting pretty late by this time and we were really hungry so we left the last thing off the list (Leadenhall Market/Leaky Cauldron) and headed off to find a Chipotle. Unfortunately, because of the holiday season it was closed early so we just headed to Five Guys instead. Absolutely love Five Guys and their drink selection is amazingggggg. All in all, a very fun day!

Christmas Day was pretty fun, as well! We went to midnight mass and then when we got home we opened presents. I didn’t get much, but I don’t really mind. I got some chocolate and money 🙂 Can’t fault that. After a short sleep, we headed to my grandparents house. Every Christmas my Lola does breakfast which includes ackee and saltfish (she’s Jamaican. I have bacon, though, because I’m allergic to fish), hardo bread, fried dumplings and homemade hot chocolate.

Christmas breakfast always knocks me out. Always. I napped for a good few hours and woke up in time to

Getting fat just looking at this picture

watch some of Toy Story 3. It made me really emotional which made my cousin laugh. Then it was time for Christmas dinner, which as usual was the best. A huge turkey with all the trimmings. Just know that I walked away from that dinner table 2 stone heavier and smelling awfully of mulled wine. Sexy.

After that I made my cousin watch Love Actually because she’s never actually watched it (shock, horror!). Love Actually is my favourite Christmas film in the whole world, I don’t care what anybody thinks. It may be cheesy and full of cliches but it is so much fun to watch. I mean just look at Hugh Grant. Please.

Then we migrated to the dining room to eat strawberries and cream whilst watching the Doctor Who Christmas special. It wasn’t great, I’m not gonna lie, but then again Doctor Who Christmas specials are never great. I fear Moffatt is ruining DW now and needs to hand over the reins to someone else. Excited to see what Peter Capaldi brings to the table, though, now that Matt Smith is gone.

After Doctor Who, whilst the rest of the nation was probably watching Eastenders, I watched 2 hours of Downton Abbey which made me delightfully happy. Perfect end to my Christmas Day!

My cousin went back to the US yesterday, Boxing Day. It was really sad to see her leave but I’m hoping she comes back to visit soon and I’m hoping I get to visit her in the New Year 🙂

How was everyone’s Christmas?