A blog about travel, books and navigating your twenties in one piece

Thursday, 31 July 2014

On A Holiday In Romania:: Bucharest

First of all, this post is going to be photo-HEAVY I'm afraid. My Mum, Harry and I spent ten days in Romania, six of which were spent in the capital, Bucharest; the rest of them being spent in the countryside, but more on that in another post later this week. For those of you that don't know, I'm half-Romanian, speak it just about fluently and have been there countless times since I was born. Before my Gran moved to live with us a couple of years ago, she lived in Bucharest and has spent the majority of her life there. So, for me, it's like a second home. 

Despite Romania being a country with a very complicated past, it remains beautiful (or, at least, I think it does). It's a country with stunning architecture, inspired by many different cultures including French and Spanish. Unfortunately a lot of these beautiful buildings were damaged or taken from their owners under Ceausescu and so they're largely abandoned and damaged. However, when we were walking around the city, I was still struck by how lovely many of them are.

Ceausescu's infamous palace

We spent our days in Bucharest lying in 'till the early afternoon (which was absolute bliss), strolling down to the same restaurant each day for breakfast, visiting Mum's friends and practically-family, followed by spending the evening playing games with my friends outside when the heat has cooled down a bit from being thirty-two degrees celsius. They were my favourite days because they are so familiar to me. Being the creature of habit that I am, I don't feel bored knowing I've had days like these most years in my life, in fact it's quite the opposite, I love it. It was great to be able to share that with Harry too, and show him where so many weeks of my summers have been spent.

One thing I simply can't leave out is the food in Romania. Oh my, I can't describe in words how much I love the food there. Somehow, maybe because the majority of it is home grown or I don't know why, the food just tastes INCREDIBLE. Everything's tastier there. And their food quite frankly makes me happy. Maybe even slightly giddy. Inevitably I ate a lot, and I don't regret it at all. Romanians know how to make food and I certainly know how to eat it - it's a perfect fit ;)

Bucharest is definitely one of my favourite places in the world and I had the best time over the past week there. As I said earlier, the place is like a second home to me and in spite of the pesky mosquitos that never fail to consistently bite me, I'm sure I'd go there every year if I could. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

On The Things I Want To Be Remembered For & A Quick Update

I got back from Romania last night and have had such an incredible past ten days, which, of course, I'm planning on telling you all about over the next few days if I can. I have so many blog posts to catch up on now.. I probably could have read/written some while I was on holiday but it was one of those periods in which I wanted to appreciate living in the moment and reflect on it at a later point. So here's last week's entry of 52 Lists - there will be two entries this week as I play a little bit of catch up! Thanks, as always, to Emma for creating these lovely list ideas.

1. Being fun.
2. Writing. 
3. Being trustworthy and always someone that can be counted on.
4. Making the best chocolate brownies.
5. Grabbing hold of life with both hands everyday (at least, I'm hoping to get there).
6. Turning rainy days into sunny ones, wherever possible.
7. Just for being me, and that, hopefully, being a good thing. 

I think the idea of being remembered is such a complex and interesting concept; when thinking of how many people live in the world just right now, I sometimes feel very small. It feels impossible that we could all be remembered. But, if it is, these are the little things I'd hope to be remembered for. What about you? I'd love to hear what you think.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

On Southbank & Going Back To Borough Market

On Thursday I watched my Mum's friend's dog, Ava, in the morning - she's so adorable! At lunchtime I left her with some food and made my way to the station to head into London to meet Emma and Becky. We slowly meandered down to Borough Market (which I'm determined I will visit as much as possible over summer!) for lunch. As I had last time, I bought a sausage bap from a stall which I think is called Boston Burgers. It was amazing and perfect on such a hot, beautiful day. Becky and Emma went for pasties, which they both said were also delicious.

Having suitably filled our tummies, we decided to buy a freshly-made juice from the market. I had apple, pear and kiwi, it was so good! Having fresh juice always makes me long to buy a juicer myself, although I think that's going to have to wait a while but I have no doubt that I'll be investing in one in the next few years. After a bird pooed on my bag - not a happy Anna - we made our way down to Southbank for a walk and to see the Globe theatre. Becky's incredible at acting and a true thespian so Emma and I were shocked that she hadn't seen the Globe before.

On our way down there we spotted the Tate Modern so had a quick look around. I'm not a very artsy person and don't generally enjoy art exhibitions or visiting galleries (please don't hate me!) and neither does Becky so when we made our way into a piece of art in which you walk into a literally pitch black room, I was slightly (read: very very very) weirded out.

Leaving the Tate Modern soon after that experience, we walked along Souhbank and looked at the Globe a while before stopping in a Starbucks for a much-desired strawberries and cream frappuccino. We then walked along the river some more, taking in the sunshine and tourists, and plonked ourselves by the Thames to drink our drinks and admire what a stunning day it was.

Soon after we went back to the station and Becky and Emma had go home. It was a lovely day and I'm hoping to replay days like this all summer long. The exciting part of this post (you may have noticed a lack of photos so far) is that Emma vlogged it! Emma is so talented at doing make up, and she has a wonderful Youtube channel which you should all go and follow, although she has 18,000 more subscribers than I have followers so I don't think she reeeally needs me to tell you to follow ;) Anyway, here's the video, excuse my camera awkwardness - which is definitely a thing! - I hope you enjoy.

Just quickly to let you know I'm off on holiday to Romania this afternoon for ten days so I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to blog over that period, I'll try to a little but, if not, I'll see you all soon!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

On Baking #02

It seems I've gone a little baking crazy over the past week or so.. I've made four cakes in the past five days. Luckily (mainly for my health) I've only had a few slices and have given the majority of each one to other people, although that still doesn't make a very strong case for this having been healthy! Having loved both making and eating Rosie's strawberry and lemon cakes last time, I decided to remake them this time and try a version of her white chocolate and caramel brownies. And yesterday at Mackinlay's we decided to have a girly day and make some Betty Crocker cake mixes which I guess, in a way, is sort of cheating, but I thought I'd include them in this little baking update anyway. Oh my, were they all delicious. I can only apologise for the lack of photo evidence... they didn't last very long. What have you been baking lately? I'd love to find some new delicious recipes!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

On My Favourite Books

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
3. The Catcher In The Rye by J D Salinger
4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
6. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
7. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
9. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

(These are in no particular order - it's hard enough to narrow down all the books I've read to a few favourites, I couldn't begin to try ranking them!) 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

On A Picnic, A Party & Catching Up

The past few days have been really lovely so I thought I'd write up what's been going on while I have a moment just now. On Friday I finished at 12pm so my friends and I decided to go for a picnic in what was glorious weather. And so a trip to M&S ensued to buy everything you could possibly need for a picnic - including strawberries, cocktail sausages and pimms as but a few examples of what was bought! It was wonderful to sit in the sun with some of my favourite people and the perfect start to the holidays, although it was a shame that we had to say goodbye to Lydia and Lish who have now left for Ghana for three and a half weeks. Having got used to seeing each other almost every day, it's going to feel odd not doing so over the next couple of months.

Sadly I had to leave early to meet my Mum in central London where she now works on Fridays. It was great to see where she's been working, it's such an incredible space and I'm glad she gets to spend her Fridays there, making her job a little more relaxing! We then hopped on the tube to go to my godsister's 21st birthday party. It was a fab evening full of sushi, music, champagne, and videos of her from when she was little. Mum and I managed to get home for 11pm by which point I was exhausted and made my way straight to bed.

On Saturday I went for a run and did some quick shopping before catching the train to catch up with Hannah, Kate and Emma. We went to Kate's and chatted about everything that's going on and many other things, including what makes a sandwich a sandwich (are we philosophical or what?? ;)). It was lovely to see them and even more lovely that it hadn't been so long this time since the last time I'd seen them, we must make sure this happens more often! Harry came to meet me and after stopping in to chat for a bit, he and I went to his.

I'm not sure whether or not to be proud that over Saturday night and Sunday day Harry and I watched eight episodes of House of Cards. I think proud is the right word. It's great and engaging, and perfect to watch first thing on a Sunday morning in bed with a bacon sandwich and cup of tea - I would highly recommend the latter! Later on we watched the last hour or so of the Wimbledon final, I'm very happy Djokovic won, and then we Harry made lasagna for myself and his family.

All in all it was a great weekend. I'm now midway through the work experience I'm doing at EY which my sister set up for me as she works there. It's been fun so far and I'm enjoying learning about what they do and how it all works, and actually understanding what Cait does for possibly the first time! I hope you've all had fantastic weekends too xo

Monday, 7 July 2014

On My Dreams For The Future

First of all can we just take a moment to let it sink in that we are 28 weeks into 2014 right now?? This is NOT okay, 2014 is going much too quickly for my liking and it's making me feel a tad uneasy (as I undoubtedly say every year!). Now, onto what are currently my dreams for the future...

1. To do a job that I love which engages me every day.
2. To gain a great education, particularly in philosophy and history.
3. To not let fear stop me from taking chances or from living life.
4. To have a family and pet dog; at the moment it would be perfect if it were a beagle, although that's definitely subject to change.
5. To continue surrounding myself with wonderful people.
6. To never lose a sense of what's really important to me.
7. To love truly.
8. To travel.
9. To have a sense of belonging.
10. To laugh everyday. 

What about you? What are your future hopes and dreams?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

On Running


As I briefly mentioned in this post, in the past couple of months I have tried to take up running, again. It would be an understatement to say that I'm not a sporty person; the only sport I've ever really enjoyed or actually been good at is netball and I haven't played that for a very long time now, although I would love to get back into it at some point. Before I moved house, I used to walk for about forty minutes every day, unfortunately I now can't do that as I have to get the bus to sixth form. The bus stop is right outside my house so I think if you do the maths it's pretty clear that since moving last year, my exercise significantly decreased.

I don't think it necessarily resulted in me putting on weight, or at least not much if that is the case. What led me to take up running was more that I want to be fit than anything else. Sometimes I did feel insecure and apprehensive that I was putting on weight, but I don't think it was much so the main reason I took it up remained to try to become fit. And I concluded the later I left it to get myself fit, the harder it would be. A friend had also recommended the Change 4 Life Couch to 5k app, which is made up of podcasts over nine weeks in which you should run three times a week in order to slowly but surely build up your stamina with the aim of  being able to run for thirty minutes without stopping, and I wanted to give it a try.

The first run was absolutely awful. You know that feeling where you genuinely think you may be having a heart attack? Well, that summed up my first run. But I tried again, two days later. And I found I could actually do it. I think my mistake when I used to go running was that I would only run once a week. I went once a week for quite a few months and couldn't understand why it wasn't getting any easier. However, now I realise that once a week isn't regularly enough to build up stamina. Whereas I've found that three times a week, slowly building it up with this app, really has been achievable.

At least it was until I got to week five of the app which has three different sets of runs, the last one being to run for twenty minutes straight. Having been able to do every run but the first on the first try up to this point, I really trusted the app and assumed that I'd be ready to do this. And yet, I ended up having to try to do it about four times before I actually achieved it. I could do fifteen minutes but for some reason just couldn't get past that for what seemed like forever. It was incredibly frustrating as I really was trying to put in the effort and simply wasn't seeing any results.

I've heard that all runners have bad runs and the best thing to do is just let them go and the next one will probably be better. So four bad runs in a row wasn't easy. But on Tuesday I managed to run for twenty minutes without stopping. That might not sound like a long time or a great achievement, and for many it's probably not. But for me - someone who felt like she was dying after running for two minutes without stopping - to run ten times that felt pretty damn great.

So maybe running isn't for everyone, it definitely wasn't for me until recently. But I think the key is persistence and to feel good about what you achieve. Something that also helped me a lot was buying a sports bra, running trousers, and trainers. Having the right things definitely gives me more confidence and encourages me to actually get out there and go for it. I've also found that I find it much easier to run in the morning so am trying to do so wherever possible. It's been difficult recently to find the time to fit in three runs a week when I've been so busy but I'm trying to do it whenever I can and not beat myself up about it if it's just not possible.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

On What's In My Bag

1.    A pad of paper.
2.    Pencil case containing a vast array of stationary.
3.    Water bottle.
4.    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini.
5.    Keys.
6.    Diary.
7.    iPhone.
8.    Empty containers that were holding my lunch and a sliced apple.
9.    Lip balm.
10.  Cath Kidston purse containing far too many loyalty cards and copper pennies.
11.  Umbrella (you never know with British weather!).
12.  Headphones.
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