Saturday, 18 June 2016

Nina Travels - Paraty | Part 1

So I never got round to posting many pictures from my time in Rio in December. When I'm with my family I'd rather spend my time with them than squirrelled away behind my laptop. That and I've been in a blogging rut. Saying that my blogging mojo has come back and whilst going through my iPhoto I felt that some of these photos were too beautiful not too share. I'm also a little homesick for Brazil so that might also be why the urge to blog about Brazil has struck.

When I was in Brazil for Christmas we decided that as a family we would spend the Christmas days in Paraty, which is an old colonial town located on the Costa Verde - the Green Coast. It was a long drive from Rio but worth every second in the car.

We stayed in the most amazing Pousada - an equivalent word in English would be bed and breakfast but that's not a very accurate description. The Pousada Literária is more than just a bed and breakfast.  It's located in the hustle and bustle of the old town of Paraty but the second the driveway gates close behind you the noise seems to stop and you're in a bubble of peace and quiet.

Life in Rio is non stop, there's noise constantly and you're never alone. So switching off at the pousada was exactly what our overstimulated minds needed. During our stay we'd just relax in the pool reading the books from the library or if you're me - working through all of Serial season 1. It honestly couldn't have been any more perfect.

Paraty itself is beautiful, I can't help but think that Wes Anderson would have a field day if he came here.

The first thing my mum warned me about when we were packing was to leave the heels at home. All of Paraty features these cobbled rocky streets which are misleadingly hard to walk down. It was Havaianas all the way.

My brother is photography mad so on our first evening we went out armed with all the photography equipment and just took it all in. You really feel like you're in another world.

Paraty is a popular destination for the Christmas break. Everyone wants to head out of Rio and every single hotel or pousada is booked up. Brazilians are night owls so when we were walking around at just before dusk it was very quiet.

One of the most popular things to do in Paraty is rent a boat and head out to explore the surrounding islands. We did this on one of our days and I can't wait to share those photos with you. I'm still in awe of the beauty of Brazil. Getting these photos together has made me so 'home sick'.

There's something about Brazil that just grabs hold of your heart and doesn't let you go. 

Can't wait to share the rest of my LONG overdue photos with you!

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Monday, 30 May 2016

Treat Yo Self / Love Yo Self

Jumpsuit: Topshop
Shoes: ASOS
Sunglasses: Oysho

Confession time - I've owned this jumpsuit for almost one year and despite writing this post about it, I've never worn it out of the house. I went for a personal stylist shopping session in Topshop last year and let the stylist talk me into this. I was feeling confident, bold and snazzy in it so before I knew I walked to the till with it.

Once I got home I chickened out in classic Nina fashion and it's hung in the back of my extremely tightly packed wardrobe ever since.

I think I've said this so many times on here, but ever since I was 14 I don't think I've ever been happy with my body. In my head I know that if I stuck to some food rules and a gym routine then I could probably in all likelihood have that body I've always wanted. But despite some deep self hatred I can't find the motivation to stick to it. I also think that even if I managed to get what I perceive to be the 'perfect body', I still wouldn't be happy because I can fix what's on the outside but not what's running through my mind.

My body is wobbly, I'm sure I have cellulite on the backs of my legs but I don't care to check. My arms most certainly wobble and flap about, I hate wearing things without sleeves. My stomach jiggles and I can't remember a time when it was flat. I shy away from wearing things that cling to me.

With all that said, since early 2015 I've taken to running. I started off slow, it was hard and sweaty work. But in March 2016 I ran my first 10km race in 1 hour and 11 minutes. I'm due to run the Cardiff Half Marathon this October.

What running has taught me is that whilst my body wobbles and jiggles about the place, it can still do amazing things that it couldn't do before. With that vague confidence in mind this weekend I decided to finally wear this jumpsuit for its maiden voyage because if I can run a 10km race then I can bloody well wear a sleeves clingy stripy jumpsuit for a day out with one of my best friends.  So I did just that, and you know what? The world didn't stop moving and in fact, nobody cared about my body hang ups because everyone, including myself, was having too much fun in the sun living life.

I get so annoyed by myself and that my own self consciousness gets in the way of me doing what I want to do and wear what I want to wear. So this is me doing what I want to do and wearing what I want to wear despite what inner Miss Self Conscious says.

The moral of the story is, if you see something you want to wear - wear it. Treat yourself to it, wear it and feel amazing because you most certainly are. Don't let the negative voices in the back of your head get louder and talk you out of it.

"Accept who you are; and revel in it."

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Saturday, 28 May 2016

How To Be Alone Part 4: Stay Home

Joy Shared Mug - Heads Above The Waves

Home is where the heart is right? 

My little slightly rusty heart is curled up in my small 1 bed, open plan kitchen and living room flat on the second floor of a beautiful Victorian converted house. Visitors include my nearest and dearest and my landlord when he has to sign for my parcel or when the pipe under my sink breaks.

I've always been someone who has had to have a cosy safe haven. Especially since working full time having that special space I can retreat to is high on my priority list.

With so much going on in the 'outside' world it's easy to feel guilty about staying in. That dreaded Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) kicks in and you're furiously scrolling through Instagram wondering what everyone else is up to without you.

Of course I get that feeling of missing out as well, and there are some Sundays where unless I meet up with a friend for a walk, I can go a whole day without speaking to anyone. Once in a while it is good to just take some time away from everything and unwind.

I desperately need alone time regularly. I need to stay in my flat with the windows thrown wide open so the fresh air comes in. I need to curl up in bed with some new book and endless cups of tea. 

So how do you go about staying home and making the most of it?
  • Put the kettle on and have your favourite tea to hand
  • Make yourself your favourite breakfast, mine is either pancakes or french toast - these are quick and easy to make with things you should always keep stock piled
  • Take your fresh tea and breakfast back to your room and breakfast in bed like the royalty that you are
  • Have a bath in the middle of the day, there's nothing more luxurious or decadent than pampering yourself in the afternoon and then nesting for the rest of the day. Then lie in your towel on your bed for hours just napping
  • Have a clean out listening to your favourite playlist, a clean space will make you feel more relaxed and cosy
  • Pull some books of your bookshelf that you've been meaning to read for ages and pile them by your bed for easy access
  • Gather all your blankets and settle on the sofa with your favourite Netflix show - snacks are compulsory. Some of my current favourite shows to marathon are Grace and Frankie and Peaky Blinders
  • Alternatively watch some feel good favourites, my films of choice are Roman Holiday and Austenland
  • Wrap up your day with a face mask and your favourite home cooked meal
What are some of your stay home tips?

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