travelling abroad

I’m Alive!

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

Well hello there, it’s been a while. A month to be exact but fear not, I am well (sort of) and alive. I spent the last month travelling to Pakistan for 3 weeks and Greece for 10 days and I bloody loved it. I now actually have 2 days to sort my shit together for work but the sun is shining outside and my bike is staring at me and I’m tempted to just jump on it and go for a long spin. However I thought I would rustle up a quick post explaining where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. See my nan, the only grandparent I have left and the only one I really ever had a connection with, is ill and not the old age kinda ill. She’s in a lot of pain every day and it sucks that I live so far from her and the amount of times I see her are totally limited. This summer I spent all my time with her, talking to her about her past. I loved listening to her stories and she equally loved sharing them, it was amazing to hear that until 20 years ago she had no idea what electricity was. My nan lives in a small little village in Pakistan and all she’s ever really known is her field and crops, so the idea of TV and phones really confuse her. I’ve been to Pakistan many a times before but this time was a little different – I purposely blocked myself away from my phone and focused on my family and I realised how much my life was dictated by social media. I felt like I needed the latest dress/makeup just because it was being hyped. I wore no makeup and barely looked in the mirror and I was my happiest, theres definitely something in there. Even though I’ve lived in London my entire life I truly feel like Pakistan is my home, I feel a sense of belonging there – it’s sort of left me feeling homesick whilst being at home. Any who I came back to London for a few days and then flew out to Santorini and did a mini island hopping thing – we visited Ios, Naxos and then Athens for a couple days. Greece was absolutely beautiful, everything about Santorini was instagrammable. I’m going to do a whole post on my Greece trip but its was one of my bucket list places to go and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to visit. That’s it for now, next post will be a recap of my Santorini visit – any questions please ask!

There will also be vlogs from both holidays so make sure you subscribe here.

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Ios Streets

 

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TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

If I could I would spend all my time and money travelling the world! Alas responsibilities have me somewhat tied down for most parts of the year, however after writing my last post about flying out on a budget – it’s inspired me to create a bucket list of places I want to go and also keep track of where I have been so far. My bucket list is more of locations that I have in the pipeline in the near future – the aim is to visit all these places by the end of 2016. A part of me wishes that I had more photos of my previous trips – I never use to be precious about keeping memorabilia from trip. I also had this weird thing where I didn’t really like being in any photos so after each holiday I would destroy them so that I wouldn’t have to see them! But in the upcoming adventures I plan to save every photo & video and take as many possible.

 

PAST

France – Paris
Italy -Venice
Italy – Sardinia
Italy – Rome
Turkey – Istanbul
Turkey – Marmaris
Tunisia
Dubai
Spain – Barcelona
Portugal – Lisbon
Morocco – Agadir

 

FUTURE- these are places that I have already booked to go this year!

Greece – Santorini / Athens
Thailand – Bangkok / koh phi phi / phuket

 B U C K E T    L I S T  

Croatia

The land of gorgeous waterfalls and caves. Every photograph that I’ve seen looks absolutely stunning. I did plan to go Croatia May this year but GCSE marking took priority. However June next year I’ll visit for sure.

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Amsterdam

Closer to home and could be a very affordable quick getaway. I totally invisage myself cycling down the streets of Amsterdam and rowing across the canal. I’m planning to go there in late October for a few days so if you have any suggestions of places to go/see then let me know.

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New York

This is the big trip – to the city that never sleeps, the concrete jungle. I have wanted to go New York ever since SITC days. Summer 2016 I’ll be  heading down to New York for 2 weeks and then getting a flight to LA for 2 weeks. I’m excited about the food and shopping mainly but everyone that I know that has been New York says its amazing. I’m excited to watch a play on broad way and get on the subway. I’m slowly making a list of places to go/eat.

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Hong Kong

I’m so intrigued with Hong Kong – my uncle who passed away 12years ago, worked and lived in Hong Kong and a part of me wants to go for that reason. So I can see/experience what he may have done whilst living there. Now that I’m typing it, it sort of sounds silly but in my head it makes sense. This isn’t necessarily at the top of my bucket list but its definitely in the top 4.

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Obviously there are SO many places I want to go to, Australia, Switzerland, but I will be ecstatic if by the end of 2016 I have managed to visit all these places! With that being said, I am forever adding to my list of places to go so I would love to know where your bucket list destination is…

 

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Flying on a budget

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

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One of the few perks of my job is having almost 12 weeks off through-out the year and I try and cram in as much travelling within that space as possible. Buying experiences is much more fulfilling and rewarding than owning a bunch of materialistic goods and travelling also does so much good for the soul. 

Unfortunately for myself and many other teaching folk out there, when schools are closed plane prices are increased and doubled to what they would be during term-time so in order to get the best possible deal for my monies. Some simple guideline to flying on a budget.

 

BOOK IN ADVANCE

Probably the most simplest but once I know when my holiday dates are going to be I go ahead and plan out where I would like to visit. I don’t exactly have the luxury of booking a cheap flight and then requesting time off work, its quite the other way round actually. There are set dates for my holidays and I have to search for affordable flights around those dates – doing so in advance helps reduce the price, not lots but every little helps.

 

CLEAR YOUR CACHE

Ever looked at a flight and thought ‘I’d book it tomorrow’ and once you come back to it, flight prices have increased? Well, a little tip – clear your internet cache. Apparently keeping the search site and dates saved on your history somehow increases prices. If you look for the same dates several times, the information get stored and prices are increased. Clearing the cache helps to keep prices at the same level. Also looking for flights at 12pm-2pm when its lunch break for most people or in the evening can increase prices. I found the best prices during weekdays from 9am-11.30am or 2.30pm-4.30pm – it really is trial and error but it seems to be when I found the best available deals.

 

INTERCHANGE

Half-term I get a week off and Christmas, Easter holidays are 2 weeks off so if I’m travelling around Europe I try and fit in two destinations at a time. Easter break I flew out to Lisbon for 4 days and then flew to Barcelona for 3days and the connecting flight only cost £25pp. Our tickets in total were under £200pp. It’s definitely one of the best ways to see more places in a short amount of time. 

 

FLIGHTS

When booking flights 8/10 I use skyscanner.net its always been the best place to find the cheapest flights, however sometimes cheap flights like Easy Jet & Ryan Air have a luggage restriction and often fulfil their price quota on additional costing so even though upon first glance they may seem like the most ideal airline to use, in the long-run the little costs of luggage/check-in/food all add up. When you want to take 25kg luggage and want decent seats on a plane, I tend to use the cities main airline for example Lisbons airline is TAP airlines and it worked out to be cheaper than Easy Jet and we got to take 25kg. Win win. 

 

LAY-OVERS

I’m planning to go to Thailand during Christmas 2015 – perfect weather to go up there but the flights are around £700+ however if I was to book dates which were 2 weeks before I get my holidays I would be able to book a flight for more or less within the £500 price-mark. On sky scanner.net I found a connecting flight which stops over at Russia for 2 days and even though it means that it will take me longer to get to my final destination, we’re going to check into a hotel for a night and roam the streets of Moscow for a day and half. That’s 2 countries for £500 – pretty pleased with that! If you’re willing to stop over at another country then this is definitely an option to save a few hundred £££.

 A few simple tips, I hope these are helpful. I have a few hotel/accommodation tips too so I’ll rustle up a post on that too and get it up soon.

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts #3 Social Anxiety

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I definitely think that in the last couple of years anxiety went from one extreme to the other in the social-media world. From not really acknowledging it at all to anxiety being something cool and what individuals should strive for because people that they look up to may suffer from it. Anyone with a real form of anxiety finds it quite difficult to function in everyday to day life and it’s not something you want to have (by choice) in your life. 

Do I have anxiety? I’m not sure…

I feel like I’ve been/am definitely going through something, whether that is classified as anxiety who knows. The other day I went to this function where I didn’t really know anyone. Well…I knew of them, I knew there names but didn’t actually know them. If I’m with a small group of friends with people who I’ve known for with a while then I can usually cope but in large groups where I don’t know anyone I get this weird feeling of uncomfortableness and can’t seem to get out an actual sentence. Back to this function, so a few people started talking to me and I froze, I just looked at them. I could hear them, understand them and in my head probably had some sort of response but my body just froze. For the life of me I couldn’t actually get out a sentence and 30 seconds of awkward silence my brain said ‘say something, anything’ was too late. I felt like I couldn’t breath. I was standing still but felt like I ran a 900m run and was short of breath. Hastily I left the room and as the door behind me shut I gasped for air as if my drowning head just popped out of the sea. It was unreal. I have never felt like this…ever. I drove home feeling confused, what the hell was that? They weren’t complete strangers? Why am I so weird? 

Later on that night I sat on my bed and tried to recall every social gathering to see if I had ever felt like that before…and I couldn’t remember one single moment in my life. I always knew I wasn’t the most confident in a crowd of people but I was able to hold a decent conversation whilst throwing in some witty/sarcastic remark. I mean most of the time I make friends because of my insanely annoying sarcastic personality. My thoughts carried on through-out the evening and then it hit me… I don’t really hang-out in large groups. During school years I had 1 friend, College I had 2 friends, University I had 3…that was pretty much how it was for through-out my studying and work life. I had many friends but in small groups. I never really paid much attention to it till now and then I recalled that at my wedding I had 600 guests and they were all in little groups of 2/3 or one person – no one really knew each other. The more I thought about it, the more it began to piece together…surely there is something hidden in there. 

I find it absolutely fascinating that at the age of 27 only now I’m discovering that I may suffer some form of social anxiety. I also find it fascinating that I feel 100% comfortable talking in front of 30 teenagers in a classroom yet struggle to have a conversation in a group with adults. 

Anxiety can come in lots of sizes/forms – it’s difficult to understand let a lone deal with it. I’m going to figure this out but one thing I’m confident on is that I know

I will be okay.

wonderful

 

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Thoughts #2 Social Pressure – MARRIAGE & BABIES

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Okay round two of this whole thoughts entry, now the title is pretty intense and this could be a huge topic of its own.

However today I want to talk about marriage and at what age society ‘expects’ you to get married and have children. The idea for this topic came from when I met up with 3 of my University friends, we meet far and few in between, adult life has taken over – long gone are the days where we literally lived in Oxford Street.

The conversation all started off by discussing how long we’ve known each other, 9 years! Then we started talking about marriage and babies, when we’d like to have them and how old we’d be when our kids turn 20.
Yes that is a scary thought… Out of the 4 of us, I’m the only one whose married so it was interesting to hear their perspective on things and the pressure they’re receiving from different ends.

I think when you come from a Pakistani/Indian background there’s automatically an unsaid ‘expected’ age for marriage. About 10years ago it was 19/20 where you were to get married, now it seems to be more acceptable if you’re in your mid-20′s and after that there seems to be a certain pressure. Pressure from family, friends, relatives and possibly even yourself. And this seems to increase as time goes by…this makes me question why? At the age of 27 I still haven’t really figured out who/what I am. Yes I have a career and a hobby both which I love but I still don’t feel like I’m there yet, where ever there may be. And if I had met Nojmul when I did, I would probably still not be married, the idea of feeling pressured to get married really scares me. And to imagine, there are several women at the moment who are feeling the same pressure. To be fair I think that the pressure of marriage and offsprings lays in most cultures.

My advice to you all do not stress yourself out. If it’s meant to be it will be. If you force it/rush it, you’ll probably settle for someone who you don’t entirely want to be with but decided it’ll do, because you’re freaking out about age, time, etc.

Our conversation moved over to kids – so if you get married at 27, you have a couple years to yourselves, I think thats the ‘accepted’ time-frame before everyone starts questioning ‘when are you going to have a baby’. However for me it started a day after I was married and my sister kept/keeps asking me if I’m pregnant yet.  Back to the point I was making, married at 27/28, baby at 30 – by the time your child is 20, you’ll be 50. I’m just going to let that settle in there for a second… 50 sounds as scary as  what 25 did when I was 10years old. It’s actually not that far away and if you decide to have more then one child then that means you may even be 55+ to see your youngest get to 20. Okay I’m going to stop there. I feel like now, more then ever, more women are very career focused, owning their own companies, in leadership status in the co-operative industry. Something has to give and it seems like having children is one of those things. And theres nothing wrong with that, if its an individuals choice. It’s my decision if I marry or stay single or just be with someone without a label. It’s my choice if I decide to have children. Mine, not the cultures, not societies. Mine. Women should be congratulated for excelling in their careers, instead of having to choose between one or the other. 

For my day job I teach Design Technology focusing more in the realms of Resistant Materials, Electronics and Graphics, in a mixed gender school and the girls that choose the subject are far and few. Whenever I recommend the subject to a parent/girl they often come out with the same comment ‘I/she won’t/doesn’t need the subject in my life’.  This again could be whole other topic in its own right but the point is that from a very young age this idea of being solely a homemaker is embedded to some young children’s mind and it carries with them until they’re adults.

I always remind students to work hard in their GCSEs and give it their all and even after trying your hardest all doesn’t go to plan then it’s not the be all and end all. The same applies to women(and men) in their 20s 30s 40s – marriage isn’t the be all and end all. It may all sound a bit rich coming from someone who isn’t in the situation but believe you me I’ve had my fair share of pressure from family and society. 

The thing is, we make the traditions and culture so if we want to change it then it’s something we have to actively do together. Some idealistic views on what life should be like was created by people many, many years ago and it suited them at that point in time but things have changed, we’ve moved on.

Think about it, we update our phones to move with society so that we can function to the best possible ability – then why not update culture and traditions about how we choose to live the rest of our life?

 

 

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Thoughts #1

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

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Do you remember being in school and a friend stopped talking to you for no apparent reason. You had unknowingly said or done something which has upset the friend and you have no idea what it is.

Did you get that weird uncomfortable gut feel and it drove you insane thinking about what the hell was it that you’d done?

I went through exactly that and more in my early school years and at the age of 16 I thought “forget this, if this is what it’s like to have friends then I’m better off without”. I created a goal to study, and work and it’s all I did until 18, then it was time for University where I made a small group of friends. But the way I felt never changed, I used to trod carefully, trying not to say anything that would upset someone. I was never really myself – and when you think about it, that’s a really sad way to live. To be surrounded by so many people and still feel alone. Fast forward 6 years - by some form of miracle I got married to someone with who I feel 110% me and I eventually started to careless. It also helps that I’m mainly surrounded around adults who are 10years my senior, they have more life experience and no time for crap. Life was good and felt normal…for once. But it was short lived.

I’m at the stage again where somehow I have upset someone completely unknowingly. You know when you get that feeling that something has changed in the friendship…and it may or may not even be something to do with you.

The predicament that lays before me, do I confront the person in question? What if that person turns around and says that I’m being paranoid…? What if it becomes more awkward then what it already is…

I have been in all these positions before, am I ready to repeat history?

Or – should I just not care. I mean do I really have time and energy to bother with someone who can’t be open and honest. Because obviously whatever I have done it was unintentional – maybe I’m not the one at fault here at all. Just when you forget what a certain feeling feels like – bang, there it is again. 

This also made me think, do we ever grow up, and do things really ever change?

 

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PROUD MOMENTS

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I find it so much easier to sit and think ‘oh I wish I had done this…‘ than to actually applaud myself and say, ‘I’m so glad I did that’. I do strongly believe in whatever happens, happens for a reason so I don’t really reminisce that much. However yesterday I found myself sat on my bed thinking about how I was 10/15 years ago and certain decisions I made un/knowingly that have helped to shape my life. With that being said, today I will share a handful of positive decisions that I made when I was in my teens and till this day I am so glad I did them. 

 

*Learnt how to ride a bike, without training wheels. My dad received a bike from a friend and just told me to get on it. I fell a few times but my dad was a firm believer in tough love. 

*Took my exam revision seriously. I always wanted to be an A* student but was predicted D’s and E’s – after months of revising I walked out with 7 A/A*

*Didn’t have a mobile till I was 18 (however this was more my parents choice then mine!)

*Wasn’t actively involved with social media till 4 years ago (FaceBook changed it all)

*I said I wanted to study Architecture when I was 8 and it’s exactly what I did.

*Self-taught myself how to do henna

*Learnt to say NO. This one was probably in my late teens.

*Wrote a diary

*Had few but true friends

*Read a lot

*Watched cartoons, you know the 90′s ones, Rugrats, Hey Arnold.

 

Some of these are completely random, I think whenever I’m feeling down I’ll look back on my list and remind myself of all the things I did right as opposed to things that aren’t going so well. Tell me one thing you’ve done that you’re proud of…

 

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LISBON TO BARCELONA

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If you’ve read my last post you’ll know that I was away for the last 8 days, gallivanting around Lisbon and Barcelona. After our 4 day trip in Lisbon, 9th April we had a flight booked heading towards sunny Spain. Scheduled to arrive at 6.35pm, factoring in the luggage pick-up, catching an aerobus and getting to the hotel we had hoped to be roaming around streets of Barcelona around 8.30pm. However due to the french strikes we were still in the departure lounge at 8.30pm! Tired, hungry and and pretty annoyed! There was literally nothing to do. Finally arriving at Barcelona at 12am – got to our hotel and went to sleep, hoping that the next morning would be a new start!

My husband is quite good at finding good hotels which are value for money, we try and book decent sized hotel rooms which are normally 3*-4* and always in the city centre! We were located in Pl Catalunya which has a metro with lots of different metro lines connections. It is also the aerobus drop-off and pick up point. If you’re thinking of heading into Barcelona definitely look into staying close to Pl Catalunya if you’re looking for convenience.

10th April – sun was shining and La Ramba was our first stop. It’s seemed to be where all tourists were, with lots of restaurants and bars, little stalls and lots of sangria around. We found a market where you could literally find anything/everything spanish-food related. Olives, fish, fresh fruit and fruit smoothies, chocolate, spices, nuts. It was incredible! We situated ourselves towards the back of the market where we saw the locals. I assumed the locals would know what all the best markets were and we started browsing. We walked our way around the lanes – had a lot of ice-cream! Around 3pm we decided to walk towards Sagrada Familia – about 45mins walk, but again the best thing to do when abroad is walk as much as you can. Tourist sites are great but I love getting to see the realness of a city by exploring all the hidden streets. Once we got there it was fully booked and we were advised to book online and have a screen-shot of the ticket saved online. So we started to make our way back to the city centre. That evening we booked tickets for Sargada Familia and planned to see Gaudis Park in the morning. 

11th April – We made our way to Gaudis park, firstly if you’re going with a pram – find a bus route! Because after getting off the metro you will have to walk uphill for a good 30mins. Once we got there we spent about 20mins getting to the highest point of the point and we could see Gaudis museum all the way at the bottom of the park. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go to the bottom because we had tickets booked for 4.15pm for Sargada Familia, which by the way is probably one of the most breathtaking piece of architecture I have ever seen. As an architect graduate I really appreciate a good building but this is beyond and above anything I had envisaged it to be. Apparently its going to take another 80years to complete depending on the finance situations. We spent the evening walking around and exploring Catalunya and the area around it. 

12th April – Sunday is where most shops apparently are closed. Well that’s what it said on the internet, so we headed down to Barcelonta (that’s the name of a metro station) where the beach was! There’s also a cool cable car which zips across most of the city – we spent about 3 hours lining up for it but totally worth it! Spent most of the afternoon chilling and eating a lot of ice-cream. For dinner we went to the coolest burger shack. Where my tongue graced the taste of Parmesan and Garlic chips – oh my god, they are so good! In the evening we headed towards the Magic Fountain - located on Espanya on the metro line. Probably one of the most magical water fountain show (it will all be vlogged in on my YouTube channel)

13th April we were due to head back to the airport at 5pm – so after checking out of the hotel we headed back to the beach – we planned to hire an electric bike/scooter and zip around the city, maybe go Camp Nou. Unfortunately the husband struggled to move the bike more then 5metres. So after an hour of trying to teach him how to balance, we gave up, returned the scooters and headed back towards the city centre. Shopped in Zara and Mango. I didn’t expect the clothes to be as cheap as they were. Sandals that I brought for £89.99 were on being sold for 69.99 euros! Nojmul and I have made a deal that if I don’t shop in Zara for 9months – we’ll go next year specifically for Zara and Mango shopping!

That was pretty much my Barcelona experience. Currently looking at tickets for Santorini and Athens for summer! Being a teacher is a tough job, but I got to agree with non-teaching people and say the holidays are one of the perks!

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LISBON

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

A picture heavy blogpost is totally acceptable for a holiday post….right?

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5th April I set off for what I thought would be a relaxing, sunny vacation, first stop was Lisbon for 4 days and then moving onto Barcelona for another 4 days. Getting a connecting flight from Lisbon to Barcelona was super cheap – around £22pp, if this summer you’re planning a trip into Europe I would definitely recommend splitting it up into two locations.

We arrived mid-day on Easter Sunday and it was scorching hot, 24degrees to be exact. Getting into town from the airport is made really accessible. There is an aerobus which takes you from the airport into the city centre and it only costs around 4euros pp and it runs every 10-20mins depending on the time of day. Or you can get the metro which is around 1.25euros and takes around 35mins. I much prefer taking a bus, this way I get to see the city. If you really wanted to get onto the Metro, they have pretty much an oyster card system, (obv much cheaper) you just reload whenever your money runs out.

We booked VIP Executive Apart Eden Hotel which is literally in the middle of the city centre – on the left of the hotel were all the traditional markets and stalls and to the right of the hotels were all the high-end luxury stores. We stayed more on the left side as there was more culture and really cute boutique style restaurants. There’s definitely a relaxed vibe in Lisbon, completely different from London. The cobbled pavements, worn down walls, graffiti on every surface, all have history hidden within the streets, very endearing.

Easter Sunday most places were closed, some restaurants were open but majority of the shops and markets were closed for business, so we just grabbed some dinner and browsed through the lanes trying to get a feel for the city. The next day, we were told that it’s a bank holiday which means that most museums and shops would not be open. On top of that it was raining, started off as a drizzle but there were moments where it was raining quite heavily. We didn’t want to waste an entire day cooped up in a hotel so we braved it and walked to Saint George castle. The cue to get on the tram (which are so vintage looking) were really  long – we started asking for directions and walked towards the castle. It was about 25mins of walking constantly uphill but you get to see the backstreets and the locals. Luckily throughout all of this the rain stayed away but once we got the castle it poured down! We didn’t get to enjoy the view and explore as much as I would’ve have liked. We made our way to a metro and got back to the hotel to dry up and get some lunch. Rain hadn’t stopped so I started googling places to go when it’s raining in Lisbon I actually googled that entire sentence and all reviews were pointing towards the aquarium. Apparently it’s the largest aquarium around in Europe so we jumped onto the metro and off we went. Definitely recommend going here – probably one of the best aquariums I have been to. Even now, writing this almost 10days later, I remember how beautiful and peaceful it was inside.
There’s a massive shopping centre and food court opposite the aquarium so we made our way in to explore – I was just looking for a Sephora.

If you know me, you’ll know that my exercise routine is between me getting out the house, driving to work and then running around a classroom. Beyond that I do very little walking which means I don’t really own any comfortable walking shoes and I had only taken a suitcase full of sandals and flip flops. By now my feet were aching in my super uncomfortable gladiator sandals so I went into Nike and brought a pair of Free Runs 5.0 – best investment ever! My feet thanked me the whole trip!

Tuesday we went to Sintra which is a 40min train journey away, you can use your metro travel card here just make sure you have enough topped up. I love train journeys, you get to see so much more of the city. Sintra in beautiful. Definitely need more than one day here. It’s whole land full of palaces and stunningly sculpted gardens. We only managed to get to two of the palaces and luckily the weather was on our side, it was sunnier and rain free. I think I’m definitely going to go back and possibly stay near Sintra just to explore it a little bit more. There was a lot of walking involved – what would I have done without my trainers?

Wednesday we went to Belem which again, is a train ride away, but much shorter maybe 15mins? I brought the most delicious Custard tarts (and I don’t even like custard) but it was raining so I didn’t get to explore it a whole lot. We came back to the city centre and just spent most of the day walking around local towns.

The local cuisine seems to be either fish or ham/pork, I don’t eat ham/pork and not really a fan of fish so we pretty much ended up eating anything with chicken or vegetables. I really liked Lisbon but obviously would’ve preferred it if the sun was out a bit more. There’s a lot of walking uphill involved so if you’re planning to go take comfortable walking shoes and maybe a rain jacket. Out of everywhere I’ve been in Europe it’s definitely the cheapest in terms of travelling/food and tourist sites. I flew out to Barcelona on Thursday which was a mission of its own – there were strikes with French Airlines which pretty much has a knock on effect through-out the entire airport, more on that in the next post.

I also attempted to vlog – which I am going to start editing now, hopefully should be up this Sunday so make you’re subscribed here.

S C H I Z O P H R E N I A

Posted & filed under Lifestyle Edit.

I’m pretty sure there’s a statistic somewhere which states the ratio of people who suffer/face a mental illness of some sort. Today I want to discuss one of the most personal aspect of my life. If I ever build the courage to post this then go me…

This isn’t my story, it’s my dads. He has suffered from a mental illness called Schizophrenia for the past 29 years. Now the common misconception of this is illness is that the person in question has traits of Jekeyl and Hyde, it’s sort of like that but there’s so much more to it. When growing up me and my sisters would see my dad behave in a completely different manner to all the other dads. We never really spoke about it to each other. But my mum sort of just drummed it in that our dad is ill and things are just different for us and we mustn’t compare our lives. What the illness was I never really knew or understood until I was in my teens and was able to research it. Schizophrenia is an illness like all other mental illness in terms of effect. It can vary anywhere from severe to mild spectrum and can have different symptoms for each person. I can only really speak about what my dad goes through on a day to day basis and how we as a family help and deal with it. 

Throw back to when I was 9 years old
I am an extremely light sleeper, the sounds of the lightest footsteps would wake me up. When I was 9/10 I have early memories of my dad waking up at 3am going downstairs to open the door because he thought the doorbell rang. After opening the door and realising that there’s no-one actually there, he would go back upstairs and into his room. This process would repeat 6/7 times throughout the night and each time he would get more and more frustrated swearing louder and louder each time he went up the stairs. I used to pretend I couldn’t hear and try my hardest to fall asleep, I assume my sisters would do the same, we were all scared because we never really got what was happening. 

When I was around 11, my first day of secondary school, dad was walking me to school and I could hear him muttering to himself, I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying, but at the age of 11 I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. Funny that now I feel ashamed and embarrassed of feeling embarrassed. I used to tell my dad to walk 10 steps behind me so that he wasn’t walking with me and nobody knew he was my dad. At the time it didn’t occur to me that regardless of him walking 10 steps behind me, people would be able to recognise that he is my dad because we obvs have the same features. duh. In year 9 I remember a boy from my form class in school asking me if ‘that was your dad walking behind you’ I tried to pretend that I couldn’t hear him and he continued with ‘he was talking to himself.’ I just put my head down into my book and ignored him. For a few years I carried on with life with resentment as if it was his fault. 

My dad suffers from a range of symptoms, the main ones are, hearing voices/noises, seeing things, getting angry/agettated quickly, he feels claustrophobic. 

Imagine when you’re trying to fall asleep and all you can hear is doorbells ringing / people talking. He’d often come into our room and shout at us for talking – when nobody was saying anything. 

Through-out all of this my mum looked and still looks after my dad. Reassures him, keeps him occupied – and with any person who suffers a mental illness there are good days, bad days and some really bad days. It all just depends. 

Where has this come from? The doctors still haven’t been able to pin-point it. The closest they’ve got is to assume it’s a side effect to some medication to when he lost his memory 31 years ago (that’s a whole other story) 

Is there a cure? Not really, therapy helps but its all about learning how to manage it as opposed to getting rid of it.

Having a mental illness is shit. It makes you feel trapped and I’ve seen it first hand. The best medicine for it, is having a strong support system, for my dad it was his family. We are his support system. To reassure him everything is and will be okay.

Yes I was ignorant and selfish when I was little. The older I’ve got the more I appreciate my dad and his illness. Because of him I’ve become patient, understanding and empathetic to a whole new level. 

If you suffer from a mental-illness my biggest advice would be to surround yourself with positive people, people who will listen and understand you no matter how crazy you may think you sound. Someone non-judgemental and just re-assure yourself that no matter how crap you’re feeling now, it will get better. Contrary if you are around someone who suffers from a mental-illness, all they need from you is confirmation. Confirmation that you will be there for them no matter what. Confirmation that you are trying to understand what they are going through. 

I’ve let you into probably what is the most personal part of my life. Lets make it count…share this story. You never know who it may help.