Reflections @ 25

Eeeeeek I turned 25 this month! This past year feels like it has been the quickest of my life so far. To be honest I thought that I would feel more of a way on my birthday than I actually did when the day arrived, but I felt good. I keep saying that I need to be writing more and more but in reality its so much more time consuming than I give it credit – but here I am sharing my thoughts about this past year and hitting my mid-twenties (that really sounds horriddddd).

I think I am a 3 year Plan sort of person – or maybe like 60% plan and 40% wing it. There was definitely things that I wanted to accomplish before 25, i.e. moving forward in my career, focusing on saving and I wanted to travel a lot. I have worked and worked, but have also had some amazing trips and experiences in the last few years and I wouldn’t trade those memories in for anything.

I think I have learnt a lot about my work ethic and the fact that you really do have to put your heart and soul into whatever you want to achieve, whatever stage you might be at. I love my job, and although it’s not particularly rewarding to society (My sister is a neo-natal nurse which is pretty hard to match….) it is something I find really fulfilling and I love progressing and evolving and working towards the next level. Nothing ever comes easy and this year I am feeling more than ever the want and need to do and be more. It’s also hard as hell, like I don’t want to give the impression that I find it easy because I don’t. I am tired always and sleep is my best friend and I comfort eat a lot, but I think when you are really into something you endure all the side effects, good and bad.

Also it has hit me that at 25 I live my life mostly selfishly, like pretty much I live just for myself. Obviously it goes without saying how important family and friends are to me, but because I have no serious responsibilities I can travel when and where I like etc etc. I do think it’s healthy to be able to spend a lot of time doing your own thing, the only scary thing is how addictive it can get. And I don’t want to become numb to the need for sharing stuff and getting used to doing things alone, and really that worries me a bit. But I always remind myself that God knows best and I am exactly where I need to be for this year of being 25.

I also realise I have a massive amount to be thankful for, I really live a blessed life amd am looking forward to the year ahead.

Elena

xxxxx

Question Time – @Dave

*Not my content/material* Rights below @

Question Time – Dave

“Look
A question for the new prime minister
How’d you have a heart so sinister?
How are you so wasteful when people are dying in Somalia
Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya?
The irony is we have no business in Syria
But kids are getting killed for all the business in Syria
And then they try and tell you it’s ISIS, it’s ISIS
In their attempts at killing it, how many civilians
Died, so what’s the difference between us and them?
When you got drones killing kids just touching ten

Then when a bomb goes off, every politician’s lost
Like that last strike that didn’t kill a hundred men

You ain’t the same as them
But all that fuel for the fire is what you gave to them
And what you take from them

All my life I know my mum’s been working
In and out of nursing, struggling, hurting
I just find it fucked that the government is struggling
To care for a person that cares for a person

So where’s the discussion on wages and budgets?
How they made them redundant when I was a young’un
The letters in our car said my mum was overdraft
But somehow I still had dinner money in my pocket
And even the little things like ordering pizza
Were probably the reason for overtime in the evening
Five till ten, six hours of sleeping
For 22 years my mum was doing the cleaning

Dreaming that her kids would have a better life
Go in bed at night, struggling with getting by
That’s the reality for millions of people in a nation
Where a lot of us were looking for a second try

A question for the new prime minister
And please, tell me if I’m being narrowminded
But how do we spend so much money on defence
And weapons to wage war when the NHS is dying?

Bursting at the seams, and what about them people
That voted for us to leave for the money that it would see?
350 million we give to the EU every week
That our health service needs

But now them politicians got what they wanted
Can you see an empty promise or a poster on the street?
Nurses in tears ’cause they’re working every hour of the week
And they still don’t have the money that they need
You brought the heart of the nation to its knees
Underpaid, understaffed, overworked
And overseen by people who can’t ever understand
How it feels to live life like you and me

Patients lying in the corridors
‘Cause doctors can’t even find a bed for them to sleep
I remember A&E and all them sickening screams
Of a little girl waiting for a surgeon to be seen
Privatized healthcare, guns for police
Increased uni fees, is this what they’re selling us?
Well let me remind you just in case you’ve forgotten
That we live in Great Britain, not in Donald Trump’s America
Speaking of America, state and the president
With all due respect, I’ve got something to say to them
I just find it funny you can’t give a hand to Palestine
But you can trade whole arms with Saudi Arabia

Look, look
I’ve got a question for the new prime minister
At Grenfell Tower, your response was ridiculous
You hid like a coward behind your 5 million
Dodged responsibility and acted like you’re innocent

And I can see you’re terrified, you’re not good at telling lies
I’m getting why you stay away from everything that’s televised
You look like a robot and you don’t speak with any life
It feels to me like any guy in press could’ve said them lines
Imagine going to the council for the safety of your block
And you’ve got kids but they’re ignoring you at every time
Everyone who knew about that cladding
Should really be going prison under rule of joint enterprise
But if it ain’t a little kid with a knife
I bet that judge is going easy when he’s giving him time
They don’t deserve to be free
Any builder, MP that knew about the conditions but did it to save cheese
When I listen to the things that the residents had seen
I was so shocked I couldn’t even speak
Families they know that had died in their sleep
How you choke on the smoke when you’re struggling to breathe
The glow from the fire
The panic when you hear all the sirens
The crackling, the popping and the muffled-out screams
The fear in the eyes of a man that was trapped
Who jumped 15 floors from the tower to the street
I could only hear a fraction of the pain and the grief
Closing my eyes, trying hard not to cry
And the joy and relief in the face of a man
When a woman from the flat said his neighbour was alive
No help from the council in keeping any list
Or the people that survived, his neighbours and peers
And for that whole meeting I could see that he was trying
So his smile was an island in a sea full of tears

Look, I’ve got a message for our old prime minister
David Cameron
I mean you fucked us, resigned, then sneaked out the firing line

I wanna know how you managed it
And are you bathing in the sun while them papers have a run
At the woman that you left here to handle it?
You gonna teach your little lad to be the man that’s got a plan
And then the moment that it fails to abandon it?
Are there bullies in his school?
And when you pick them up after class, can you feel his embarrassment?
I mean you never gave a fuck about the youth and that’s the truth
There’s no sympathy for you or your cabinet
I really wish I could’ve seen how you were scramblin’
When you lost the referendum that you had to win

I feel like politicians are all addicts
In a big fat game but it’s lives that you gamble with

I’ve got a question for the leader of the Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn, where do you wanna take the country to?
Honestly, I wanna put my trust in you
But you can understand why if I’ve got trust issues
Do you really have the faith of your party?
Do you really have faith in the party that will come with you?

And how do you plan on keeping all the promises?
Man, if I’m being honest, sir, I’m struggling to get with it
I just ain’t getting it
Everybody’s great until you get them into office and then guys start forgetting things
Prove to us you’re different, don’t promise me anything
Go and get justice for Rashan Charles and Edison
And if you haven’t had the thought to vote yet
Or protest ’cause you don’t really see the progress

I hope you know that what they’re saying is affecting us
The small steps are way better than no steps.”

Dave @ Apple Music

@Santandave1

 

 

12/09 – Mirrors

I never know how to start these because my thoughts usually come out of nowhere, so I’m just going to jump straight in…

I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to mirror the other people in our lives, and how our experiences are shaped by this. For example, how you think about a certain situation can literally determine the outcome of that situation – ‘thoughts become things’. If you know me personally, you know I love using that saying. It is so easy to let your perspective become the complete narrative, when actually it is only yours. How you think/feel/react to anything in your life belongs to you and not others. The whole story is barely grasped by you alone.

I think it’s important from this to understand how little we actually matter in terms of other peoples decisions and actions. And this can be apparent in any aspect of your life, work life, within relationships or family, certainly friendship too. Something that somebody else does may trigger you, but it’s more likely that they have done that whilst thinking and feeling in themselves, and not in a reaction to you.

The clarity that you give to a situation or experience will, in my opinion quite literally affect its outcome.  Your construct of what is happening will seep out into every interaction – whatever that may be – physically, emotionally. And eventually the receiver will mirror that back to you, physically, emotionally. What you put in will always be what you get back out. If you want respect, give it. If you want love, give it. If you want forgiveness, understanding, reassurance, give it. It might not come from the source you are expecting but that is what you will receive.

I guess this also says a lot about perception. Most people’s perceptions depend on how they see themselves, standing in their own lives. You see most things from where you are, so if you are feeling distant from a certain friendship, perhaps you have created that distance in your head from your assumed perception (mostly this stems from our own fears) but if you then mirror that to the respective person, how can they not mirror it back to you, completing the narrative you created in the first place…

5 Minute Philosopher…

This interview is always on the last page of stylist magazine (http://www.stylist.co.uk/) So I thought I would try and answer some of the questions to ease myself back into writing for this month of August…

What is the meaning of life? I think the meaning of life is what you make it. To Laugh, share experiences, find out what you Love doing and learn along the way.

What is the difference between right and wrong? Right is when you live in a way that doesn’t hurt anybody else, wrong is when you know that your actions are negatively affecting others. The lines can be blurred though.

Where is your happy place? Maybe on a beach or in the gym. I am happiest when I am with my friends or chilling with my family.

Nature or Nurture? Both, Nature provides the ingredients, but our upbringing and our experiences continue to shape us.

Is it more important to be liked or respected? Respected because it lasts longer. Being liked and loved by the people close to you is more important than being liked by people you don’t know.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be? Just generally being a bit wacky and weird and not afraid of being myself. And being a good friend, I think that is really important.

Who or What is your greatest love? Who would be my family and friends. Big love for them. What would be Italy, I feel a way there that I can’t feel anywhere else in the world.

When did you last lie? 5 minutes ago when I said I would call someone back at work…. I am actually a really bad liar, my face gives everything away.

Does the supernatural exist? I believe that the Holy Spirit exists, but would you call that supernatural? On ghosts and stuff I am undecided.

Are you fatalistic? To some extent yes. I believe that everyone is on their own path but we create our own destiny. The choices we make and the way we lead our lives define us, which we have control over.

What is your greatest fear? Loosing everyone I love, or something happening to the people that I love. And public speaking.

Animals or babies? Baby elephant?

What talent do you yearn for? Either being able to Sing properly or being a fully qualified F1 driver – just to make my dad proud.

Do you like being complimented? I don’t know what to do with compliments so I get awkward when given one. I’m that person that instantly tries to deflect the situation away from me. I cringe thinking about it. But yes I do – doesn’t everyone?!

Do you have a high pain threshold? I’d like to think so. Although I had my knee taped up after an injury back in April and pulling that off hurt sooo bad. My sister who is a nurse might disagree with me.

What books do you recommend most to others? Honour by Elif Shafak, Small Island by Andrea Levy and The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini. They are about honour and sacrifice and true friendship, and they all changed the way I look at love.

Which has been the hardest lesson to learn? I think it would be not to take things personally. Why do I always do that? And how to let go, that’s always tough.

Which food sums up happiness? Pizza.

What have you never understood? Bad manners and people who walk slow in the city.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die? Preferably when I am going to die so I can prepare for it.

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die? I believe that if I live by faith then I have nothing to worry about. But I think knowing I am going to die imminently I would be anxious about it.

Quinoa or Quavers? Can I choose another type of crisps? Doritos chilli heatwave!

Tenacity

You say I am
tenacious
too much
for my own good
Holding firm
to all of my ideals
let them go,
I never would.
You say I am
persistent
unwavering
immovable
inexorable
in my existence
but because of that
you listen,
And help make sense
of you.
Here in my
relentlessness
You are understood.

Come si dice…Peace?

I wish I could explain to her,
Why there are so many wars, and peace is hard to find.
I’m ashamed to say I’m only 21 and I live a better life
Than the majority of the world.
Hatred, shame, brutality, at the moment rule the earth.
If tell her peace will return, it would only be wishful of me to think,
And I feel like such a hypocrite,
Explaining humanity’s suffering from a distance, out the thick of it.
As if I can really understand how people out there live,
Whilst sitting in my house, with running water made of brick.

Come si dice…Peace? – 4/8/2014

Berry & Honey Muffins

I love baking, and working full time means I rarely get to cook for my own pleasure, it’s usually just a rush to eat something before the day starts or when I come home in the evening. Over the last few years, I’ve tried to incorporate baking, cooking & experimenting with my favourite foods throughout the week instead of waiting until the weekend.

As well as being a lover of everything sweet, I am also health concious and do try to modify traditional recipes so they suit the eating habits I like. Simple things like using natural honey and cinnamon instead of sugar, oats and brans instead of flour all make a difference in a recipes nutritional factor.

Today was Berries & Honey Breakfast Muffins (or a snack), I can make these on a Sunday and enjoy them for an on-the-go breakfast throughout the week, as they will keep for 5 days in an airtight container. So here’s the recipe, which can be adapted with different fruits and flavours depending on your taste :)

Ingredients

2 Large Ripe Bananas
250g Porridge Oats
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Greek Yoghurt
2 Tablespoons Natural Honey
1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1-2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blueberries
Raspberries
(Make it as fruity as you want!)

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease a 12 dip muffin tray.

In a blender, add the oats, bananas, Eggs, Greek Yoghurt, Peanut butter, and Honey. Blend until almost smooth (a few chunky bits will just give the muffins extra bite).

Once blended, pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and chia seeds.

In a pan, add half the blueberries and raspberries that you want in the muffins, and heat up until runny. Once hot, marble the fruit through the Muffin mixture.

Spoon the mix into the muffin tray. Add the last of the berries on top, as these will slowly soften whilst in the oven.

Place into the oven and cook for 15 minutes! (Check and 10 minutes and then leave them for an extra 5).

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

The Day I Left My Home Pt.1

I think about returning
as I start to wake,
I let myself get lost in a golden haze
of soaring sun and childhood days
before I sink back into the unknown.
My daughter slumped on the back of her brother
across one border to another
lessening the load for his mother
as I attempt to fight our way,
over seas and ideologies
in search of a safer place for us to stay
which started that day
I left my home.

 

Christmas Baking – Crumbled Pies & A Cinnamon Swirl

Crumbled Pies

Ingrediants

100g Unsalted Butter
200g White Flour
Dusting of Icing Sugar
1 Grated Orange Zest
1/2 Grated Lemon Zest
200g Mincemeat

Topping
25g Ground Almond
2 Tsp Sweetened Cinnamon
25g Unsalted Melted Butter
26g Soft Light Brown Sugar

Method

Heat the Oven to Gas Mark 4 and grease 16 hole muffin tins. (I use one of 12 and one of 4 as this is what I have in the kitchen).

To make the Pie Pastry, rub together with your fingertips, the butter and white flour. You should do this until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Add the grated orange and lemon zest with the icing sugar.

To turn this into a dough, mix in a splash of water, around 3 tablespoons should do. You can always add more if it fails to come together.

Once it has formed, lightly knead and then set aside to chill – this needs to be about 20 minutes so the dough has time to develop.

Once time is up, roll dough on a lightly floured surface.

Once rolled, cut out with circular cutters until you have 16, re-rolling to get as many as needed.

Fill each hole with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat, I usually like to sprinkle some cinnamon on the top here, but this isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Topping

Mix together all the ingredients needed for the topping, ground almond, cinnamon, melted butter and soft light brown sugar. This should also resemble breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the mince pies. Drizzle with honey, or a sprinle of almond flakes, you can experiment with different flavours here!

Cook on Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes, checking after 10, when they are golden brown, good to serve & enjoy Hot or Cold.

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

 

Becoming a Blogger – How it Started

“Superrb blog! Do you have any tips and hihts for aspiring writers?
I’m hopinng to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confysed
.. Any recommendations? Cheers!”

Hey! I hope you don’t mind me publicly replying to this (maybe there are others that feel the same). Firstly thank you for reading and for showing love! I hope I can answer you adequately enough.

When I started the blog, it was because I needed other people to see my work, respond to it, I was craving that writer – reader interaction that helps you assess how other people respond to/view your words. It was also an outlet, a distraction (at that time) but the best kind.

I had been thinking about ways in which I could reach out to people, and connect to other writers, i.e writing forums, but I decided that I wanted something that was just mine. I initially chose WordPress because I knew someone that had used it, I didn’t know how to do anything at first, so I started off with a free platform (Perfect for students). I didn’t think about buying my current one, and transferring to a paid site until I was more experienced with how to host a website. Do whatever is best for you and what you are comfortable with – there is so much help out there about how to get started, and sites like WordPress will help you along the way because they are tailored to beginners. You will learn as you go along!

Also, you’re not an ‘Aspiring Writer’ – you are a Writer! Be honest with yourself, about yourself, your emotions and experiences and don’t be afraid to put that into whatever you choose to create. There is a reader for everything and sharing your work will only help you to improve, not only in skill but in confidence! Connect with other writers and readers and ask for criticism, feedback but learn to enjoy the process too.

If you ever need a second opinion but don’t want to publish just yet, feel free to ask me to read it – elenaandrean21@gmail.com.

08/10

I feel as though recently there has been a narrative circulating that individuals thrive when they adopt the attitude that they don’t need anyone else. I think subliminally it’s been picked up from social media, reading different articles and even in general conversation, the belief that being able to stand alone is preferable and reliability on others is weakness.

Don’t misunderstand when I say that everybody needs a support system, because I agree that we need to be strong as individuals too. At 24 most of my decisions are selfish, I get up in the morning and lead the day I want to lead. I go to work for me, I work on my fitness for me, I shop for me and I socialise for me. When I am going through something it’s in my character to go through it alone, but the idea that as Human’s we don’t one another is alien. I am able to do all of the above things because I have a network of people around me that I can count on when I need them and vice versa.

I think females sometimes convince themselves that they don’t need men, and men that they don’t need females. Perhaps this also correlates with the mirroring concept that people will only be what you show them to be or to think. Realistically we do need the opposite sex, not only as partners but as father/mother figures, as brothers/sisters and as colleagues and friends. Feeding into and maintaining it is counterproductive and unrealistic.

I like to believe that the perfect balance exists. That because no two people are the same there is beauty in interacting with another completely different to yourself. Where someone falls short, the other makes up. Feeding into the ideology that none of us need anyone is dangerous and evolves an existing self-fulfilling prophecy…