Reflections on a lazy day off.

Sometimes, on those rainy days where I finally get an excuse to spend a day at home doing nothing besides eating, napping and watching TV – you know, the ones that you are just your lazy self, no plans, no intentions on going anywhere (unless there’s no food in the house), catching up on series and movies, or just playing XBox and reading – without having anyone to judge for wishing your life away because ‘God forbid I waste a day doing nothing with such a wonderful life waiting!’. Familiar with the feeling?

Yes, me too.

Truth is, I work in hospitality. My days are spent running between the two properties I manage, keeping staff in good spirits, guests happy and making sure the potential big problems don’t happen because action plans are in place in case something big goes down. Not that this always works – when you get to a certain point in your life, you always have to be counting on the plans b and c to be right up your sleeve, ready to salvage whatever they can for the day.

In the meantime, I have to always have a prepared justification for this and that for the big bosses in case I get a surprise question. I have an unhappy guest and I constantly try to think up of two or three options to give them in case I cannot solve the issues straight away. I go on with my projects and try to deliver them on time. I deal with my own restless nights and coffee infused mornings because sometimes, the sun just isn’t shining the way it should.

Needless to say, my home is the the place where I get out of the working suit, put on my PJ’s and try as hard as I can not to reply to my emails unless they’re urgent, take hot showers to clear my head. Wipe the signature smile of my face and get on with my things.

I am a customer service minded person. Besides the curtain orders, team motivation meetings, finance and budgeting and all that comes with my job, I am, in simple, a person that likes to host, make sure others are happy and well looked after. My days are so filled with other peoples’ problems that coming home is what a Yoga class must feel like to a free spirited person.

So, excuse me if 4 out of 6 times, I just want to be with myself.

As I get older, I see more and more these motivational phrases that life is to be enjoyed, don’t be at home all the time… I get it; we only in this earth once. We have to make the most of it.

But I believe a balance is needed. You don’t have to go out every weekend to prove to others and yourself that you are making the most of it.

You are allowed to have days for yourself. Days where you put music on and clean the bathroom on your underwear. Days where you move from the bed to the couch.

And that is okay. I mean, if all your off days are like this, sure, you should see someone because you might be suffering from a more emotional issue. But in a balanced way… You are fine. It is fine.

I am not sure if it is because I am entering the 30’s soon – yikes! But a lot of my friends are making a point of showing how great they are at living life. Every weekend, no exception, they will be posting a very motivational picture with a life changing quote and very creative hashtag, But you know what? I bet they are doing this in their home clothes eating a bowl of pasta.

Some days you get up and go for a run in the park, other days the most productive thing you will do is bake a cake. Some times you will be super productive and go on a city break, new restaurant, a play and you will feel very cosmopolitan. Other days it will be a victory to know if you washed your face or not in the morning. And that is fine.

Days for yourself are okay. We all need to recharge. Don’t be afraid to waste a few days doing something you love alone just because it isn’t seen as socially worthwile. As long as it is valuable to you, to your state of mind, it is enough.

Enjoy the days off!glfcydo

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An outsiders view ~

Living in London has its perks.

Being a metropolis and a cultural capital of the world, you literally have everything on your doorstep.

You have theaters, shows, museums, endless pop-ups (markets, restaurants, you name it), fairs, celebrations, events, cocktails on some rooftop….

But the thing is, when you actually live here, sometimes you get so caught up in your work life and yourself that you forget this city has all this and more to offer. Yes, London is very cosmopolitan, full of vibrant people and interesting places and activities but from time to time you sort of forget. For example… when do you, that live either on a small town or village or a huge city, go sightseeing? When do you go out, for the sake of it and be a tourist in your own home place?

You are so used to it being there. So close, just outside your door that you take it for granted. And then you stop going to the city center just because technically you can go there any  time you want. However, work is on the other direction, you you just pass by while watching funny videos on Youtube on your commute and it competently passes you by.

 

This happened to me. Like it does to all of us. But then, last week my parents were week. And boy, did I miss my health app to count my steps!

It was fantastic. I forgot what was seeing this city through the eyes of someone that does not live here. My parents, albeit of some age, they are used to travel. They were born in South Africa from Portuguese emigrants. Moved back to Portugal. Their honeymoon was a road-trip through Europe. They didn’t give us a lot of expensive gifts, instead they would take us travelling. Spain, France, Africa, all through Portugal, etc,… So they are more than used to travelling. But still, they were impressed. With the size of the buildings, the size of the city. The amount of bridges. The number of people. The speed of the tube and the number of lines it has.

I forgot how beautiful Southbank is on a sunny afternoon. All the street artists. The music. The street food. The people. The vintage fairs, the shows, the energy, the love I have for it.

Yes, it is hard over here. You work way too many hours, your friends live 1 hour and a half away even though they are in the same city. But then, you have sun over St Pauls and you are in comfy shoes crossing the Millenium Bridge and suddenly, it does not seem so gloomy.

Truth is, I do have a lot to thank for here. And I have to thank my parents for reminding me that.

So go out, explore and fall in love to where you live!

 

Claudia x

On a greener note…

PORTUGAL RAN 4 DAYS ENTIRELY ON RENEWABLE ENERGY.

If that isn’t impressive I do not know what is.

It is refreshing to see that our governments are finally looking into the countries own riches and make use of them.

The main sources of Portugal’s energy is coming from biofuels and waste. Wind and hydropower and adding increasingly larger amounts, with geothermal and solar just starting to take off.

This happened from the 7th of May to the 11th of May – Saturday through to Wednesday.

But it’s not only Portugal, Germany has also been running on renewable energy and Denmark has also started.

True, it is not a common practice, we have to see this as the try-outs for the future, a greener less poluted future.

Maybe my little Iberian country will take advantage of its position and wind consumption as much as the sun and will be able not only to run efficiently and permanently on renewable energy and even export it!

Please read and know more here and here!

Let’s go people, let’s make the world a better place.

 

Claudia x

 

 

My weekend in Rome

That’s right.

About two weeks before my birthday me and my boyfriend were trying to match up our days off – since I had the whole weekend of the 16th of April off.

We kept thinking about places here in UK to go and visit; like Manchester or Liverpool… You know, a weekend away.

Then we saw a fairly cheap price and guess what? Rome was the chosen city!!!

One of his bucket list things to see was the Colosseum. I had been to Rome before and loved it. Win-win!

It was a wonderful weekend full of good food – although I didn’t touch pizza, I am more of a pasta person ahah!

We stayed in a pretty hotel not very central, Eurostars Aeterna. It literally had a bus across the street that would go from there to everywhere; Colosseum, Trastevere, The Vatican…

Trastevere is still my favourite part with the smaller houses but more colourful and all the flowers and the vines and its small restaurants.

Last time I was there I did not visit a couple of things, so this time I took the chance to visit the Sistine Chapel and the Palatine Hills.

Have a look at some pictures and fall in love.

Just like I did.

Claudia x

Eat, don’t eat, eat….

You know, I have always struggled with my weight. And no, I am not going to write about my transformation and how I got super healthy- crossfit lover- 6am jogger kind of thing. mainly because I am neither. I am big. Too big to be considered healthy. I am overweight. Always have been.

But you see, I love food. Just like most of all of us do. How many people are in constant diets? Yo-yo dieters. Calorie counting obsessive?

Too many. I go about saying: I have to diet just to keep my weight from going up! Because believe me, if I allowed y self to eat whatever I want whenever I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. The NHS would consider me morbidly obese and give me some kind of benefit – now that I think about it, doesn’t even sound that bad, ah!

I had successful diets. But truly, that is not what they are. It is proportional eating. Healthy controlled way of life. Too boring for me. Why can’t I be allowed to have a burger when I want without feeling bad? People would see me and be like: that’s why you’re fat. How would they know that is actually my first burger in months? The same with chocolate. Or fizzy drinks. Or just a huge plate of food.

One thing I have going for me is that I am not that big of a fan of fast food. Or snacking. Or even desserts (cheesecake not withstanding!!!). No, what I like is plenty of starters and a plate of food that, judged by nutritionists and health enthusiasts, would be enough for 3 people.

So I know where my problem is. Why don’t I do anything about it? It is will power. It’s lack of regulation.

Similarly I hate the gym, so I get excuses not to go. And yes, some people get addicted. I never looked good enough to like what is in the mirror. Mind you, I still go. Dutifully twice to three times a week. Always feel like dying at the end. There will be the day that I feel happy when I leave the gym with my first thought being: so, what’s for lunch?

The thing is: I don’t want to die of an heart attack. So that is why I go running and cycling. To keep my heart strong enough to handle my eating.

Anyway I lost my way a bit; point is I loose weight enough to notice it and guess how I celebrate? That is right. Big party dinner full of red meat and carbs! I can take it. I know I can loose it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am fat. And even though I convince myself I ain’t that bad because I stay away from fast food, I know that even though the food I cook can is healthy, I eat way too much in one go.

And that is how I go about my life. Half healthy, half completely savage. It is wrong. But someday I want to eat fruit and salads and other days I want to eat that steak. And I want it with fries!

You only live once is a two edge stick, isn’t it?

Claudia x

Chapter 4 ~ 39.623119, -107.635353

It was late evening and Archibald was roaming the house like it was his own. Cassy was already in bed and Mr. Hawtrey was having a night cap with Jonah in the kitchen. Jonah knew exactly what paper Mr. Hawtrey was talking about. He had actually done some research on it.

At first Jonah had thought it was some sort of alphabetic code, but he then quickly figured it out that they were coordinates for somewhere in Colorado.

Mr. Hawtrey opened the folded paper carefully. Long years had passed since he last wrote it for safekeeping. Mr. Hawtrey had liked his drink back in the day, you see, and sometimes despair took the best of him. Pieces of his life were written down in folded pieces of paper in his house and some with family; just in case.

There they were, those coordinates he had written. 39.623119, -107.635353. Neat calligraphy, slightly tilting to the right. Just as he remembered it.

-I am guessing you know what these are- Mr. Hawtrey asked Jonah

-I know they are coordinates for somewhere in Colorado

-Right. You ever been there?

-No, too far and life never took me that way. Cat likes the beach so we usually head over to Florida or so. Cassy likes the Summer Camps there too and I get to get all sunburnt every time!

-I suppose you wouldn’t like to keep an old man company?

Jonah actually wanted very much. But that would mean unplanned holidays which he really couldn’t take. Cat would be mad because that meant that in August they would have to either cut their two weeks short or she would have to go by herself. Cassy would almost plead to go with them. But a break! It was like a sign. Work had been giving him too much time to rethink his life and although it was good, was he everything he could be? Certainly nobody’s life could be all that it ought to be. Jonah felt a little stuck. Not because he didn’t love Catherine. She was the reason he always wanted to come home to. Catherine always stood by his side and together they had created a beautiful life. And Cassy… she was his a reason for living herself. So smart. So pretty, like her mother. She did have the best from them. But still life had become a very big routine and as comforting as it was, it also leaves one itching for something out of the ordinary to happen. Maybe this was it. A little road trip in the sun, in the car he loved to drive. Even if nothing came out of it, it would just be a different day to enjoy. And what were two days off work? He could even call in sick!

-Mr. Hawtrey, how does Thursday sound to you?

-Ah Jonah, Thursday is my favourite day of the week! If you don’t mind me staying for another day or so, it would be lovely and I would be very grateful.

-That is no problem at all. But tell me, what will we be looking for over there?

-Nothing of material value I can tell you. I just left something there long time ago and I just would like to have it back.

___________________””____________________

-Cat, it is just for the weekend. I will be here Sunday night.

-But I already told mum we are going for lunch on Saturday.

-She won’t mind just  once. I will be back as soon as possible.

-What is there in Colorado anyway that your teacher needs you to babysit him for?

-To be honest, I am not too sure. I think it might be a part of his past he didn’t face back then.

-Uhhh, like an illegal family? Maybe he killed someone! He was there for the war, you know?

-Don’t be silly, darling. Whatever it is, I am sending you a picture whenever I can.

-Thanks. And here, I put there an extra pair of underwear just in case.

-Ah-ah. Very funny.

___________________””_________________________

-But daddy, why can’t I go with you?

-You will need to take care of Archie while Mr. Hawtrey and I are away, and you know how your mother is around animals.

-Ahem! – intervened Mr. Hawtrey – I am very sorry dear Cassy, but Archibald will also be going with us. I am sorry Jonah, but I cannot leave him behind, he would be driving Cassy and poor Catherine crazy meowing around the house. No, no, he is coming with us.

-Well then, that is settled, I guess.

Cassy’s eyes were wide open and for a moment Jonah thought she might cry. With a sniff she turned to the one eyed cat and whispered good luck to him. She then walked back to her dad, all business just like Catherine and asked if they needed some pop tarts for the ride.

Jonah couldn’t wait for Wednesday to be over at the office. He must be very sad, he thought, to be excited about this trip with an old man. But he wanted it to be good. And relaxing and that he would return to work recharged and thankful for the life he had here at home.

On Thursday morning the car was packed with bags and lunches and lots of water.

Jonah said goodbye to Catherine when she left for work -she always took Cassy to school while he picked her up- and kissed a very sleepy Cassy before going back to bed and try to sleep the next hour or so when he had to get up.

Archibald woke Mr. Hawtrey that day with a very mournful meow. He knows he will be stuck in the car again, Mr Hawtrey acknowledged.

-Here Archie, lets have some food and then get ready.

Archibald looked at him like that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard in all his 5 lives.

-Are you ready, Professor?

-Oh quite so! I am sorry to drag you all the way away from home, but hopefully the weather will hold and we can appreciate the views.

They ate while reading the newspapers and Jonah could see Mr. Hawtrey rolling the folded paper through his fingers.

Jonah had looked up the address last Tuesday and had already set the Sat Nav  directions there.

-Aright Jonah, let’s go.

-Let’s go, Professor. Is Archie ok?

-Oh yes, he just dreads car rides. Don’t mind him. I gave him a little something to keep him comfortable.

Looking at Archibald, Jonah wondered if it was one of Mr. Hawtreys sleeping pills and laughing to himself they drove off.

 

______________________________________

Poor Archie back strapped to the car again.

 

Claudia x

The Marble Collector ~ Reading

For some time I had been unimpressed by the books I picked up. Or maybe it wasn’t the books fault, it was me. I just wasn’t up for reading. Which is strange with me, but I will give the books a chance.

The other day while I was window shopping I picked up Cecilia Ahern’s “The Marble Collector”.

As with me lately, it took me about two chapters to get into the book. And then I was swallowed. I couldn’t put it down. I’d have my lunch at work in the office to read. I would read it in trains so full that I am sure I might have sneezed in it (oops!).

It took me two days and a half to get through it. I swear I would have finished on the first night if I had no work to go to or things to do.

The Marble Collector is a brilliantly told story. You will have the Fergus perspective and Sabrina’s. Maybe I related to Sabrina. Maybe I reading it this week had the same effect that finding the marbles had on Sabrina’s life. It’s the far too common feeling that you are comfortable in your life – maybe with the added extra work in your days, even though Sabrina does have kids and I don’t so in fact, she is in the lead with work – when everything is going well, or at least moving forward but inside there is something. Either it is a lack of drama, of too much routine that is slowly making you want something to happen. I was reading the other day about couples and how some people have crappy days and the partner doesn’t realize and the first person is hoping for them to do something wrong so it is justifiable for the first person to explode at them.

Anyway, this is a beautiful representation of how life goes on and moves forward and you are still you but could you be more? The fight within you is still there, but is there really something wrong?

Thank you, Cecilia, beautiful book. Loved reading about life in Ireland in the generation prior to mine – my partner is Irish, so I always find it funny when a story is placed there ah! – thank you for Fergus’s layers and Sabrina’s inner battles. Your book was my marble on a specifically difficult January.

If you have a chance, please read it; it is a fast pacing easy readable book that it will make you stay awake just for one more chapter and then another. Memories are a precious things and sometimes it is the little things that reminds us of another time.

Have fun reading! And me, I’m picking up the 100 year old man again!untitled

Claudia x