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

My last post of 2017 mainly focused on what had happened in the year and ended with a couple of questions about what I’ll be doing in terms of self-improvement/self-love/self-care. I really enjoyed answering those questions and it felt good to write everything down. I feel like with writing those answers and publishing them on my blog for everyone to see, I must now be held accountable. 

This post will focus on my actual goals for 2018. I FaceTimed my cousin last night, and she really inspired me with her own goals for the year. She said that she feels like this year is going to be her year and I feel the same way. I can feel it in my bones (and not just because it’s cold)!

I recently tweeted a few things I’m looking to do this year, and I’m looking forward to taking steps to achieve these things:

✨ Speak things into existence
✨ Remove negativity in my life
✨ Get a jar and when something good happens, write it down and put it in
✨ Make a vision board
✨ Buy a new planner

I am a bit late in getting my planner for this year, but I finally ordered one after researching for about 2 hours for one that I think will help me with my journey. I found Trigg Life Mapper, which seems promising. 

“Each week you write down your goals – categorised into “self”, “work”, “passion”, “relationships”  – and the action you will take. You get a day-to-a-page format with space at the top to prioritise that day’s tasks, with bullet points for appointments underneath. On a Sunday, it asks you to reflect back on the week and note what you’re grateful for. There’s a six-month review in June then at the end of the year, you are encouraged to take stock of what you have achieved.” – Independent, 10 best 2018 planners

I feel like it echoes the Happiness Planner I have, but at half the price. Whilst I really enjoyed the Happiness Planner, I think it is time for me to try something new. I will most likely post my first impressions on Instagram, so keep an eye out on that. 

My goals for this year are probably similar to many others because they mostly include health, fitness, personal growth. The strides I took in 2017 definitely laid the foundations for helping me with my goals and I am super excited!

Finish my first draft

This is different to finishing my book because it is a long process to get to the final product. I want to at least have a first draft completed by the end of February, which I think is definitely possible. There’s also the fact that I have 50k+ words already written of my story, so that’s a nice little headstart. I’ve already made progress with writing up character backstories and timelines, and I plan to keep track of all this via a thread I started last year:

This is the first time in a long time I’ve been excited about one of my plots. I have (or had) this habit of starting stories and never getting around to finishing them. I know exactly how I want this story to end, so let’s see what happens!

Dress more like a grown up

I was having this conversation with Mutay last night, and this goal may sound a bit funny but honestly, it is something that needs to be done. Whenever I go to work I genuinely feel/look like one of the college kids that I see roaming around outside Sainsbury’s. I don’t much care for clothes, I’ll be honest, but I feel like I need to start dressing my age. Ready for my glow up, 2k18.

Somebody just needs to buy me a whole wardrobe, though.

Maintain relationships 

I have pretty strong relationships with the people in my life and I just want to keep that going, really. This means making time for people. I know this can be difficult with school or work or other social commitments, but if those people are important to you then you will make the time. 

I am hoping to get out a bit more this year and whether this will garner new, lasting connections, we’ll have to see, but it would be nice. There are so many interesting people in this world and I love hearing other people’s perspectives, as well.

Implement healthy habits

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. I started off really well with exercising and healthy eating last year and then I fell off the bandwagon several times, and then it got to October, I want to say, and bam. I was just straight sitting on the road going nowhere.

I stopped making my own healthy lunches and would either grab a meal deal from Sainsbury’s or bring in last night’s leftovers which usually consisted of a lot of rice. I haven’t been to the gym in months. I’ve only recently started drinking water diligently, again.

My skin has suffered because of my laziness, and it’s gotten to a point where I know that I need to do better. Not just because I want a hot bod but because if I don’t actually look after my body then my eczema flares up and it just makes life really hard. So, I’m writing it down now – I WILL MAKE BETTER HEALTH DECISIONS IN 2018.

Work on my portfolio

I have had chynnawebley.com for how many years now, and aside from posting a bit on there, I’ve largely left it abandoned. I want to revamp it, add new content, all sorts – I know I want this domain to be a portfolio, but I don’t know what direction I want it to take. Keep an eye out for updates!

Get into a strong blogging habit

Again, last year I started off really strong, had a bit of a wobble mid-year and then sort of got back on it towards the end. I definitely want to put more time and effort on my blog this year, as I do feel like it has been neglected a bit. Also, actually catch up on the blogosphere because I’m really behind on posts/comments. 

I have many goals I want to achieve this year including more travelling, but I feel like that one’s a given. Like I mentioned earlier, I feel like this is the year to achieve everything! I know I can achieve these goals if I put my mind to it, and as above, I’m going to be doing more speaking things into existence. 🗣️

We’re 7 days into the new year and I’ve already found my theme tune of 2018.

September has been a bit hectic, ain’t it?

I didn’t expect my September to be so busy! I haven’t had a chance to sit down and plan posts, which is something that I usually do. Anyway, here’s a post now and a round up of my September.

ALOPECIA AWARENESS

September marked Alopecia Awareness Month and so I made a big decision to shave the remainder of my hair off! I didn’t have much left anyway, but there was always this feeling that that’s still my hair and shaving it is a big deal.

For once I can actually look in the mirror and not cringe anymore. It’s still a bit of a shock being completely bald, now, but I’m so glad I did and ultimately I’m just looking to raise awareness as well.

My plans next are to raise money for Alopecia UK by doing a skydive – so keep an eye out for that.

SHEFFIELD SHENANIGANS

Have you ever met anyone who gets excited about E. coli? Well, meet Pauline. 😂

My sister had an open day in Sheffield (she’s grown now and actually looking at universities to attend and I’m really not ready) and I got to meet up with Pauline and Hamdah, who were gracious enough to be our tour guides 💕

Honestly had the best time exploring Sheffield and being at an open day gave me so many uni feels and made me miss it! Definitely need to keep my post-grad applications moving, otherwise, I’m not going to get anywhere 😭

#LFWSS18

British Style Society sent me to Fashions Finest’s London Fashion Week shows and I had the best time! The atmosphere was amazing and I really enjoyed capturing everything. There were so many amazing collections and talented designers! I’ll have a post up on the BSS site, so keep an eye out for that too.

FOOD FOOD FOOD

I discovered Binging with Babish on Facebook who makes food from different films and TV shows and I’ve been obsessed ever since. HE MADE SZECHUAN SAUCE, GODDAMNIT. Following one of his recipes, I made this bomb ass fried chicken and I was so gassed I took so many pics of it – so here ya go 😉

For my sister’s birthday, we went to Lutong Pinoy where we had Kamayan. I most definitely had a food baby after I finished eating. With Kamayan you eat with your hands – you can choose what you want to have in yours with this restaurant, so my sister chose lechon kawaii, BBQ pork, chicken inasal and it also came with vegetables, rice, spring rolls and sinigang. YUMMMM.

My friend chose the restaurant for this month’s meetup and so the student becomes the master. We went to Belgo in Covent Garden with is is a Belgian restaurant and oh my god the food was amazing 😍 I went for the chicken with beer and beef dripping gravy and Stoemp mash (mashed potatoes with carrot, savoy cabbage and leek). DELICIOUS. Food Diaries entry soon come.

I hadn’t been to Wagamama in ages, and honestly I’m not that big of a fan of it HOWEVER I was pleased with the chilli ramen I ordered went with my friend the other day. They also do really tasty green juices as well!

Mukbang? YES. THAT HAPPENED WITH KAYELA AND YOU SHOULD GO WATCH IT NOW 😏 I ate too damn much, but that’s nothing new really.

WALKING FOR THE ANAPHYLAXIS CAMPAIGN

I was up at 4 AM in the morning to make the long journey to Chiswick for my 8 AM start. I truly underestimated how tough this walk would be but the feeling I got when I finished (after I received my medal, collapsed to the ground and cried) was elation. Lil ol’ me managed to walk 26.2-miles and not die and also raise money for a charity close to my heart.

Several things happened – I developed two fat blisters on the soles of my feet, there was a point where I thought I wasn’t going to make it and my hands swelled up. It was a very emotional finish, ngl. I feel like this walk definitely tested out my fitness level and granted I’m not as fit as I’d like to be, but at least I know if I keep working on it then I can get swol 😂

The next day was a write-off but I still had to go to work. Thankfully, I sit down anyway but it genuinely took me 10 minutes to walk to the bus stop whereas usually, it would only take me 5 😭

Thank you SO much to everyone that donated – you are honestly all the best and it’s all for a good cause 💕

PS. I’ve also made the move to HTTPS, so if you have me on your blogroll please update my link to https://theinvisiblechild.info 🤗

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

I didn’t have any preplanned posts lined up, but as I’ve made the effort to post every Sunday since the beginning of this year I felt it necessary to blog today! Here’s a rundown of everything that has happened so far, this year:

January

  • I took my mother for afternoon tea at the British Museum. Thanks to a Groupon voucher, we had a wonderful time and the deal even included Prosecco. My mother doesn’t really drink so I got to have hers as well, ha.
  • I finally took the plunge and started to promote my blog posts on Instagram. I know some have been doing this for ages, so this is obviously not a new concept, but I tend to keep my blog and Instagram separate. However, this year is about stepping out of my comfort zone ~ I’m loving the results, too!
  • I started properly using the Happiness Planner, which I blogged about here. It has been so helpful to me!
  • I discovered Sanrio’s new character, Aggretsuko, and absolutely fell in love with her because she is so relatable.

  • I applied to a couple of jobs, but to no avail. Don’t you hate it when you go for an interview and then don’t hear anything back at all? Not even to let you know you weren’t successful? Hmmm.
  • I went on the Emirates Air Line, which is always a joy and gives a lovely view of London. Also, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich gives an AMAZING view of London and you get to stand on the historic Meridian Line and see the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Thames Clipper is a river bus service on the River Thames (duh) that is also a lovely way to go around London.
  • Finally got to go to Hawksmoor with Mutay for our monthly dinner date. There was a BIG kerfuffle just trying to get a table. I arrived at the Knightsbridge branch first, but then was told that they were having problems in their kitchen so we had to be moved to the Seven Dials branch. After a trek by tube, I arrived and met up with Mutay only to be told our name wasn’t on the list despite having been told by the lady in Knightsbridge that she had called and said that we would be coming. Stress. We eventually found somewhere else to eat, but then as we were sitting down we got a call from Hawksmoor saying they had found Mutay’s name on the system, it was just spelt incorrectly. Sigh. So, we trekked allllllll the way back. Thankfully, the food at Hawksmoor was delicious and we did have a good evening in the end.

January in Photos

February

  • Started reading ‘Get Your Sh*t Together’ by Sarah Knight and had my mind blown. She is also the author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck’, which I definitely want to invest in soon. I love that she described GYST as a anti-self-help self-help book because whilst she helps you get your sh*t together, it’s really down to you at the end of the day. Bonus points for the colouring page in the book.
  • Started focusing more on getting my manuscript written and made so much progress in terms of characters and plot. SUPER excited!
  • Went to OXO Tower with Mutay for our monthly dinner date and had some delicious food, amazing conversation and overall good vibes. I don’t know what I’d do without our monthly dinner dates!
  • Read Sula by Toni Morrison, which was recommended to me by Tara. Absolutely LOVED the book and I literally read it in a day. 
  • Went to Big Easy and ate waaaay too much food: popcorn fried shrimp, BBQ chicken, coleslaw, mac and cheese and cornbread muffin. I literally had to sleep as soon as I got back home. Mouthwatering.
  • Visited the Natural History Museum for the first time in YEARS. I think some parts were under refurbishment, but I still got to see the huge animatronic T-Rex and loads of other exhibits, which was fun. 
  • Went to Edinburgh, which you can read about here! Scottish accents 😍
  • Went to a bar called Tequila Mockingbird (geddit?) for a friend’s birthday and then another called The Toy Shop where they have a cocktail served in a lego mug. AMAZING. Such a fun night!
  • Pancake Day was on the 28th and OMG. I made American-style pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup drizzled all over it. It was so gorgeous and I documented the whole affair on my Instagram story. I also went to Flat Iron in the evening with friends where we were given free salted caramel ice cream with chocolate. #blessed

February in Photos

March

  • It’s only the 5th, so not much has happened yet but watch this space.
  • I have an exciting post coming up on the 26th for AnneMarie’s #WalangHiya project.
  • I am also taking steps to fundraise for my chosen charity, Alopecia UK ~ thanks to Tara’s post for inspiring me!
  • Looking forward to seeing the Inspector Calls in the theatre, eating at Roka (a Japanese restaurant) and seeing Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie at Southbank as part of WOW – Women of the World!