This month has been an odd one for me - call it Mercury retrograde, or saying goodbye to my mum and dad (always one of the hardest times of year for me), or just confusion around where I am and what I want - whatever the reason, it really threw me for a loop. And I let it get the better of me for some time, burying my head in the sand or pushing away those closest to me because I felt judged or not good enough. I'm definitely the kind of person that won't know how to ask for help, will go looking for it, and get frustrated when others won't anticipate what I need, all the while feeling isolated and like I need to figure out everything on my own. It's a breeze, being close to me!

Anyway, on one such 'figure things out on my own' day, I found myself listening to Jess Lively's podcast - something that always used to uplift me through long, tiring days at my desk when I was feeling creatively uninspired. It just so happened that her most recent episodes documented her 'Lively adventure' - she's been travelling Europe, then the States, and now Europe once again, since around May or June time I believe. She'd been doing a lot of soul searching and asking herself what she wanted too, and in a moment of brilliant serendipity, had recorded these episodes at just the time I needed to hear them.

One of the things Jess concentrates on is finding flow, and going where your flow is taking you - sure, it sounds a bit 'woo woo', but stay with me. In looking for your path or flow direction, it's often necessary to tap into your intuition - that 'gut' or 'heart' voice that guides you quietly, beyond the voice of 'wanting' - your ego. She explains it so much more beautifully here, but this is the ethos with which she's guiding her life right now. I found it so inspiring and fascinating that I wanted to see if it would work for me - I was lacking direction and certainty and a connection to myself and honestly, was willing to try anything.

Jess talks about writing to her intuition as the way she taps into this voice and helps herself make decisions, and it seemed as good an idea as any. This Saturday I took the whole day for myself, shut off my phone, did yoga, meditated, and then lit almost every candle I own in an attempt to coax my intuition out. I figured it was most probably romantic, like me, and would appreciate the gesture. I sat down with a notepad and pencil (I thought perhaps I or my intuition might make mistakes), and wrote down my first question.

At first it was hard - I was judging myself a lot and kept wanting to write down really beautiful, well-constructed, 'should' answers. Answers that I thought were right. But I kept Jess' advice in mind and waited. And waited. And waited. And then eventually, a very small voice started to write back - I felt it from my gut. And from there a whole conversation started. Some answers I had to wait longer for the answers to than others - my ego quite often wanted to interfere and 'should' all over the reasoning. But holding off and just letting things happen, I felt something start to shift - everything felt easy. Calm. Quieted. I wasn't frantic and fretting over the outcome of things, just peaceful in the knowledge that this felt right.

While I'm not going to write the conversation here, I can tell you it was surprising to me. I went back and read it and it reads like two separate people talking - one very skittish, one very still. I found my intuition spoke mainly in statements, and wasn't self-critiquing - it didn't need to have 'all the answers' right now. Once I'd finished I felt so much more calm and happy with where I was - I knew what I had to do next and, past that, I didn't need to think on it. I can't tell you how much I'd recommend it! Even if you're not in a messy headspace or worried about aspects of your life, it's still so interesting to check in with where your head and deeper consciousness are at. And at the very least - Jess' podcast is well worth a listen. Go check it out!

A couple months ago, one of my best friends and I were geeking out as per, and we decided we wanted to start our own book club (as you do). There's a whole other post to be written about the relief of finding people that are your particular breed of loser, but suffice it to say we were super pumped about the whole idea. So today, on the eve of our first meet-up (yep), I thought I'd write about the first book we read, 'Modern Romance' by Aziz Ansari.

So, this was my pick and I'll be honest - it was entirely superficial. I knew Aziz largely from Netflix and loved him on Parks and Rec, I'd also wanted to watch Master of None for a really long time. The book had intrigued me for a while and then I saw the cover and let's be honest, who doesn't judge a book's cover just a lil bit, right? 

The view I had of the book before reading was that it would be along the lines of a Tina Fey/Amy Schumer/Amy Poehler type memoir, filled with anecdotes and personal experience and witticisms and a lot of cute-ery. I was intrigued about the pair up with an actual sociologist, but figured this would mainly be to lend the book some gravitas, give it some authority and weight because, let's face it, modern romance is a big subject.

Once I started reading however, I'd learn quickly that this wasn't going to be the book I had anticipated. From pretty much the get-go, this book is academic - all graphs and number-crunching and case studies. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it and found it all massively interesting, but if you're looking for a jaunty walk through the past exploits of Aziz Ansari's love life, you're in the wrong place. Sure, everything is peppered with his voice and the footnotes are pretty hilarious, but I'd say this falls more into anthropology and sociology than it does a comedy 'celebrity' book.

Which makes talking about it a little difficult - would I pick up this book again knowing what it is? Probably not, I don't think I would have even looked at it in the first place. But I AM glad I read it - it was really interesting, written in a really funny yet informed voice - I definitely think it was smart of Aziz to pair with Eric Klinenberg to write the book. You get all the irreverence and personable nature of the comedian, with all the research and consideration of someone whose job is the study of people and how we interact with one another. It's definitely a thinker, but not one I'd pick up to roll around laughing.

If you're big into your data, infographics and thought pieces, give this one a whirl. If, however, you're hoping for a stand up routine - you won't find it here. Modern Romance is one for the ponderers and questioners amongst us, not for those waiting to fall in love with a book. 

Long. Overdue. Video content. I don't know if you guys are excited but I AM! A couple of weekends ago Jaye and I decided to go on an East London adventure - the agenda was pretty much 'stuff we've always wanted to do in Shoreditch' - for me that was Colombia Road Flower Market, for her, pampering at UR Cheeky (of course, good friend that I am, I went along) and one on both of our lists was Dishoom for all the Indian food ever.

Cue the perfect Sunday, which I've somehow managed to document snippets from and thread them altogether in this short, sweet and easily-digestible video of highlights. Please watch out for the gent wearing possibly my favourite shirt ever.

Hope you guys enjoy and as always, if you aren't subscribed please do, there's a lot more to come from my YouTube channel and hopefully you guys enjoy this slightly new style of video! 

September is already here (wtf how) and so we come to the time of year that always seems to move the fastest for me - it always seems like one second we're in September, and all of a sudden I find myself at Christmas. The leaves have already started browning and gathering in the little cobbled streets around where I live,  and the rainy days are just starting to pepper the sunshine with cloudy spells. It's a beautiful time to be in Oxford, where every college is surrounded by every shade of Autumn as the season changes. It's a hazy time where we start planning more time indoors, nesting, and collecting back that time lost in excited summer plans. I'm excited for something new.

SEE: I'm still waiting to see the David Brent movie, but I also really want to see Sausage Party. It has been SUCH a long time since I went to the movies, and I really want to pencil in some visits this month.

LISTEN: The new Frank Ocean album has more or less been on repeat since it was released - highlights are Ivy, Pink & White, Nights, and Seigfried. Also this song is just everything. That Paolo Nutini sample? COME ON. I'm so excited for new Bon Iver and this puts me in such an Autumnal mood.

GO: To Bristol! I visited for the first time in a long time recently and I absolutely loved it! It has such a great balance of being a really interesting and vibrant city culturally (visit Park Street and Clifton) as well as being an incredible place to go for a little weekend shopping break. I REALLY want to go to the zoo and aquarium! We'll definitely be going back.

EAT: One place on our radar this month is Oxford Blue Smokehouse, where I'm hoping to take my friends and the chap for his birthday - I've heard amazing things! I'll be sure to report back if it's a must-try. 

DRINK: Nice bloody tea. I picked up some Mocha Chai from Bluebird Tea Company earlier this month when we were in Bristol and it's JUST gorgeous. You can taste every single flavour and I think loose leaf might be my fav way to drink tea now. 

WEAR: I can't wait to curl up in this jumper from COS that I recently got my paws on. Perfect for long lazy Sundays browsing around museums when it's rainy outside.

READ: Some friends and I recently started a book club (yes, we're nerds) and first up is Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, which I'm really loving! It's VERY different to what I thought it would be, but in a good way - it's definitely a book that makes you think. 

THINK: Easy. I've been getting my first couple of bouts of anxiety for the first time in a really long time recently, so I'm looking forward to taking things a little easier as we go into September and spending more time getting into writing and creating for myself again. 

There are few things more sacred to me than Sundays. I don't know what it is, maybe it's fewer people in town, less hustle and bustle, but Sunday feels like a slowing down of pace, a breath at the end of a long week, a time to be still. Usually, when it comes to this part of the week, I can be found buried in a book, curled up on the sofa and lazing in the bath, face mask on, shut off from the world. However when an invitation comes from one of your best girls to go get pampered and buy flowers in East London, you don't really say no, do you?

Jaye had mentioned stopping in at UR Cheeky on Redchurch Street (upstairs at the impossibly beautiful Barber and Parlour) before our walk down to Colombia Road for bloom shopping and succulent spotting. We had a booking for 1pm and, giddy off watermelon juice and the beautiful shopfronts of Shoreditch (I mean... the visual merchandising here is off the charts, right?!), we head up to the first floor salon and were quickly seen to by two lovely ladies.

After taking a short questionnaire about any allergies we had (0) and choosing our colours - I went for this bright peach colour 'Chat Me Up' above, Jaye for a muted plum/greige colour - we headed over to the long canteen-style bar tables and took a seat together. The girls who did our manicures really were excellent - they took our bags, looked after everything, checked in with us about the pressure of our hand massages and whether they were buffing our nails too hard (!!), before completing a shiny, healthy looking gloss job on our talons. 

One thing I really liked is that I could ask for square tips with a rounded edge - WHY does every nail bar only do square or rounded tips?! LET ME LIVE.

Whilst the Cheeky Works Manicure (£25, which both of us had) isn't the cheapest, it's certainly luxurious and the setting is gorgeous - they play great music and have lively, friendly staff that are chatty and personable without being fake or forced at all. The vibe here is very cool and laidback - perfect Sunday material - and as you can see above, I was very happy with my nails! I'm also typing to you with manicure still in tact, a day on - loads of shine, and no signs of chipping or scuffing! I keep just looking down at my hands and thinking 'so preddyyyyy'.

I'd definitely recommend this place to check out if you find yourself in East London and are looking for something quite quick, relaxing and a little special - UR Cheeky is your gal. 
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