A day in Paddington

Usually when you say Paddington to me, I think of Paddington Bear and the cute little bear he is and the joy I get from the movies. I also think of the beautiful Sydney suburb. You can find Paddington straddled between the City, Bondi and Centennial Park. It’s a gorgeous little place, that yes is a little bougie, but window shopping never hurt nobody and is a great place for awesome food. If I was to spend a whole day in Paddington, this is where I would go, starting off with breakfast:

Infinity Bakery

I have an addiction to croissants. It’s not a lie and I am the verge of buying a plane ticket to get the best croissants in Melbourne, but to keep me going until then I will happily suffice for Infinity Bakery. Infinity Bakery have an awesome selection of pastries, my favourite is the almond croissant which goes great with a hot chocolate or cappuccino.

Grab a table by the window and enjoy the sun as you people watch and start the day right.

Reservoir Gardens

After you’ve had your fill at Infinity Bakery, get a coffee to go and take a tour just across the road to the Reservoir Gardens to sleep off your pastry coma. It a little oasis and you will almost always find someone tapping away at a laptop or basking in the sun.

I like to think I’m being transported to some ancient Roman garden and living a completely new life when I’m here.

Ampersand Bookstore and Cafe

I love books, I love coffee, I love food and at Ampersand they are together combined in perfect harmony. Personally I prefer grabbing a takeaway coffee and just browsing the bookshelves, especially upstairs with all the old school art books and lounging in the armchair under the window.

Pollon Flowers

Want roses that actually smell like roses? Want something that is completely instagrammable and the florists just let you roam and take pictures? This is your shop. Pollon Flowers offers everything and more and draws you in with the colours and selection available.

If I were to only receives flowers for every Christmas and Birthday I would be one happy gal, and Pollon Flowers hits the goldmine.

The Village Inn

The Village Inn is my kind of pub. There isn’t much there that cannot disappoint. An honest bartender who will straight up tell you the rosé you are ordering is crap and pours you the better one, a simple menu that executed awesomely and a picturesque view of the street below. It is an awesome last stop for a late lunch and drinks into evening. You may even stay on for trivia, and if that’s not yours style, do not hesitate to have a shop around the place. If that was an option, I would most definitely be in Mecca Maxima blowing the budget on unnecessary skincare and makeup.

Most of the photos in this post come from the great Claire, show her some love too if you like this post.

Lazy Feminist

Recently I was listening to a Podcast with Jameela Jamil on not being a “double agent of the patriarchy” and her own views of feminism. It was circulating my Facebook feed for days, so I had to actually check it out. I liked it, for the most part, but there was a point when she pointed out to people like Lena Dunham as being prominent feminist role models in Hollywood (this is paraphrased and my own interpretation of the conversation) that I had to take pause. Modern feminism is powerful, but all the more conflicting.

I grew up in a strong female-led household. My Mum has nothing but sisters, I have nothing but sisters and I went to an all-girl high school. I was always given the impression that girls can do anything and everything. When I questioned my Dad why I couldn’t play rugby union, it wasn’t because I was girl, it was because he was afraid of the likelihood of a head injury after his own experience. Being a girl never stood in my way of achieving anything and I lived in this bubble for so long. As I got older and I met a wider net of people, my views were constantly challenged. I met others, men and boys in particular, that challenged everything I stood for.

No, you can’t do that, you’re a girl.

Of course she was asking it, just look at what she was wearing.

She’s a bitch, I don’t blame him for hitting her.

And on it went. A lot more of it is subtle and I battle against it a lot. It has caused many heated arguments and all the more heart breaking when I am arguing with another woman. But I am a Modern Feminist and I will continue to have these talks.

The Modern Feminist Movement, includes the #MeToo movement, increased conversation and awareness of intersectionality and the ways in which traditional forms of feminism of the past proved to only benefit predominately white middle-class women. The biggest issue I have with feminist “icons” like Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and those of that ilk is that I find them Lazy Feminists. It is a struggle to to conflate their outwardly pro-feminist attitude with the reality that they cannot get past their privilege.  Take Dunham special brand of hipster-racism, as pointed out by former Lenny Letter writer Zinzi Clemmons or Rose McGowen’s gaffs with the transgender community. Incidents and issues like these take away from the core message of Feminism of equality and progress across all intersections. It is lazy for these icons to assume that they can somehow represent all types of women. It is not enough to “give a voice” to those less privileged, because people of colour, the LGBTQI+ community, indigenous peoples, the disabled and all other oppressed groups already have and own their voices. Those privileged in the Feminist Community need to shout and give others the space to share their own experience and equalities on all platforms.

The Modern Feminism movement needs to recognise that calling out on other women’s transgressions or ignorance to issues that effect the oppressed does not take away from their own achievements in calling out the patriarchy. Rose McGowen is still brave for calling Harvey Weinstein but criticising her does not make me anti-feminist or against women in any way shape or form. Speaking up and pointing out privilege and how to better use it and give a platform to others is important in forming a cohesive feminist movement that can benefit everyone. Men still get raped, transgender women are still murdered for just existing and being a woman of colour in this world still leaves you at a disadvantage to your white counterpart. Now is not the time to fall back on the assumption that everyone is currently represented equally.

I am privileged in the fact I pass off as white. My mother is a woman of colour, my sisters cannot pass as white as easily as me, and our experiences in life are marked differently and with different sets of micro and macro-aggressions. If I can recognise this, as someone who does not have massive following, who is not in the lifestyle of Hollywood and use it to have conversation with those around me and make changes to my personal community, then the Lazy Feminists can certainly do the same for their wider community and take on board the criticism without seeing it as an attack, but something to grow on.

Ways to Change the World: Jameela Jamil is a really good listen and I encourage everyone to listen to it because she does speak about representation and issues within Hollywood and her own experiences. 

 

August and September’s Attempt at Being an Adult

Oh September, you have been magical, you have been wonderful, you have brought some awesome time and only a few downs. These two months I’ve had a few attempts at trying to be more of an adult and embracing my twenties. There were times where I wished I was just a little bit more younger and also a little bit more older, but all-in-all I gave it a good go.

Day Drinking.

This was definitely my favourite past time of the past two months. I went to a housewarming in the daytime one day and a bottomless mimosa lunch another. I was drunk by 3pm both days for sure, and I loved it. There is something so intoxicating (pun intended) about getting all dressed up, having a few drinks and still being able to be in bed by 8pm. It’s so New York chic, and something I want to do every weekend. This is an aspect of being an adult I am totally down for.

Budgeting.

Oh I failed on this one, big time. Every month I know what my expenses are: board, car insurance, petrol, food. Theoretically I should be able to factor this in month by month as I get my pay. But I just didn’t. I mean I tried to, I really did. I wrote out everything that I bought, what money was coming in and out. The catch? I lasted 2 days max. I don’t know if it’s because I get paid monthly, so by the end of four weeks I just can’t make it stretch. I feel like a failure for not being able to save that much and be prepared for almost anything. I need serious help with this.

Being self-sufficient.

This ties into budgeting, but I was little more successful with being self-sufficient. I took ownership of my own well-being and started to put myself first. I’m always being told by my bf to be a little bit more selfish and actually do want I want to do. And it helps a lot with being self-sufficient because a massive part of taking care of yourself is knowing when to put your needs first. There are always points and moments where I faulted and I wasn’t entirely self-sufficient/taking care of myself but I am getting there.

Basically all in all, I still don’t know how to adult properly, I don’t have a manual or anything to help me but I’m crawling through as best as I can to emerge on the other side in some form of an adult.

Easy Steps using Makeup for Confidence

Confidence is one of those weird things where it ebbs and flows in different levels throughout a life time, and can change in just moments. It takes ages to build confidence up and it can be an exhausting experience that tears at the soul. I don’t have loads of confidence at the best of times, especially in large social groups where I have to actually interact with other human beings or when I have to get out of my comfort zone and push really hard for something I want. While you can’t always fake confidence, for me, a bit of makeup for some reason always gives me that little boost in finding myself and walking that little bit taller in a new situation. I wear makeup for me to enhance the beauty I don’t always see to feel that little bit more confident.

The eyes.

Eyes are the window to the soul and eyes are definitely one of those things I have used since I was teenager to give me a little boost. There wasn’t a mufti day in high school where you wouldn’t find me with thick, black, winged eyeliner and lashes of mascara. Even today you will find me piling on Maybelline Gel Pot Eyeliner and piling on loads of mascara to the point of no return. My favourite trick is to add a drop or two of Inglot Duraline to my gel pot for an even smoother application. To me, winged eyeliner makes me feel like a badass who can achieve anything I put my mind too.

My new favourite trick is glitter or metallics. Whenever I wear the Stila Magnificent Metals Liquid Eye Shadow, I always get compliments and a compliment is massive ego boost (in a good way) and an easy way to get a little more confidence. I dare you to try these liquid eyeshadows and see if no one will notice. An impossible feat I assure you.

The cheeks.

I don’t like wearing blush at the best of times, it’s not my most favourite thing in the world. Highlighter on the other hand is a god-send. That dewy, instant glow is the perfect way to 1. make your skin look healthy and well hydrated and 2. catch the light in the most perfect way to make you look ethereal and perfect in every way possible. I am a strong believer in layering highlighter for a strong glow. My go-to combination is Mecca Cosmetica Lit From Within Illuminating Balm paired with Becca’s Opal highlighter.

The lips.

The French were right in doing so in creating the allure of the perfect red lip. Just as winged eyeliner was my go to eye look, red lipstick is my go to lip look. Nyx have the best formula for any type of liquid lipstick, but the Liquid Suede line is my favourite. A red lip can take you from Board-Room Chic to a night out without any effort. It’s the perfect way to shout to the world that not only have you got the confidence to pull off a liquid lip, but you’ve also got the confidence to go out into the world and grab it by the balls. Red lips can be intimidating, but trust me when I say everyone can pull off a red lip.

Those that inspire

Every major point in my life is marked by a strong figure that I looked to for inspiration and stood in awe as I watched them power through life’s adversities with their heart on their sleeves and a smile strapped on their face. If I never had people to look up to, I would never improve myself. I’m that little sunflower chasing their sun rays. This is not a definite list, there are so many people I look up to, but the people written here mean a lot to me. I don’t know them all personally, but their story keeps me going.

Caroline

There is no one word that encompasses who Caroline is. I have known Caroline now for 10 years. I can still picture her in high school, she was small yes, but my god you would never forget her. She is a firecracker in her own right, she is smart, she is funny, she is everything. But these aren’t the reasons why I love, respect and admire her the most.

For as long as I can remember Caroline has been a hustler. At one time she can be working 2 to 3 jobs, looking after her siblings (she’s the eldest out of four) and achieving the best grades she can. You would never know though. She is incredibly humble and works quietly in the background until BAM you’ve found out she completed her honours and she’s been offered the chance to continue on to do a PHD. She’s doing an exchange at the moment and I am so incredibly proud of her. I look up to Caroline in so many ways. It doesn’t matter what is thrown her way she remains strong around others and takes everything in her stride and it makes her stronger. She is the prime example of a modern, young woman achieving big things.

My parents

I will always clash with my parents and have different opinions, there is no doubt about that. It’s just the nature of a parent-child relationship, it’s a good way to have a good debate and understand different viewpoints. However, I will always have respect for my parents. The things they have gone through and done for their family is tremendous and the glue that they are to the family is strong.

My parents have been together for a long time, and as the eldest I’ve seen them take challenge after challenge and saw it make them grow. Raising four kids is tough, especially when each child is head strong and independent like they are. My best qualities I get from parents and they way they raised me. One day I hope to be as good of an example to my kids as they were.

Jules Von Hep and Sarah Powell

My favourite podcasts of all time is the Jules and Sarah Podcast and Wobble. It’s funny, it’s cathartic, it instantly puts me in a good mood. Jules and Sarah as individuals have been through a lot through their mental health journey and body confidence journey. Every week they sit down, they record the podcast and it doesn’t matter what they have gone through in their own lives, they are always there for the Port Salut Crew.

As entrepreneurs, I am instantly drawn to them. They are successful in their own right and have started their own businesses and followed their passions to the point where I want to try my hardest to start my own passion projects and turn them into something that is amazing on its own and inspiring. Their awesome outlook on life and can do attitude not only puts a smile on my face but makes me want to be a better person. There is nothing better than someone that inspires you, but someone that makes you want to be a better version of yourself.

Reset

I don’t know how to have a proper reset. I know how to stop and take a break, but not actually how to start over and take a fresh new start. Sometimes I think I am missing out on an important life skill, other times I think that it’s a good thing.

When I left high school, I wasn’t given the choice to have a gap year, I had to go straight to uni and start studying. That didn’t mean I couldn’t have taken a semester or 2 off once I had started uni, but starting straight away at uni really really burnt me out. I was determined that I was going to finish my degree as soon as possible, but going through HSC-like conditions every 6 months really screwed with my wellbeing.

And here’s where the holidays came in. Holidays were a time for relaxing and working hard to make money. Occasionally I would think “hey, here’s a good time to have a complete reset and learn some new skills that’s would help me more next semester”. I never did, I entered the next semester stressed as ever and never really learning from my mistakes.

When it comes to work, I don’t really separate myself. I can maybe not think about work for a solid 2 days straight, but I can’t hit that reset button to have a complete refresh. Everything needs to be done in a certain way, and I am always thinking of ways to improve what I am doing. While I might not be able to have a full reset I do know how to hit pause.

While having baths with Lush bath bombs and creating the an at home spa experience seems good for the self-care routine and to hit pause, it’s not a route for me to help me completely refresh. I think I just need to escape to the wild for a bit, get bitten a few (or many) times by mosquitos and just have a really long nap. The current culture at the moment of having the time to start over doesn’t work for everyone’s lifestyle. Hitting pause sometimes is just as good, even if you can only do it for one hour at a time.

F45 Challenge is Over

It been 8 weeks. I’ve committed myself (kind of) to a full 2 months working on getting fit and increasing my health levels all round. I want to say it was super easy and I lost a tonne of weight, but that’s not the case. I learnt that slow and steady is the pace that works for me.

When I wrote My Body Exists, there was a part of me that didn’t quite know where my headspace would be today when I did a mini update. There will always be that little part of me that wants that hot, bikini bod, and I naively thought I would get that within 8 weeks. My body did change though, not drastically, but enough for me to feel that little more confident. While the number didn’t drop drastically (I lost only 2kg), I did prepare myself for not reaching the goals I set out for myself. A fact of life for me, is that having PCOS and being a woman, means my body just wants to hold onto extra weight around the middle. I’m not ashamed of it anymore, it just needs more time. My biology is not working against me, it just wants different things. I decreased body fat and increased my lean mass, that is what is important.

I think the most interesting new measurement was my bust size. Apparently it increased, when I know for a fact I’ve dropped at least half a cup size. I’m putting it down to the fact that my boobs are actually at chest level now that I’ve developed some muscle. Who would have thought that just bench presses and push ups would help with that goal. I guess I can put the idea of a surgical lift a few more years into the future.

The food part, I almost nailed. I fell off the bandwagon a lot. I’m not going to feel guilty for it all. I live a social life, I enjoy a glass of rosé, I love good food made with good ingredients. I still learnt how to cook better for myself and that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, but I think I’ve had enough tofu and tempeh these past eight weeks to last me a life time, thank you very much.

The difficult part was reconciling body positivity and wanting to drop dress sizes. For a while I was listening to podcasts on body positivity and inclusivity to help me feel motivated, but it did the opposite and made me feel worse. I was made to feel guilty because I wanted to loose weight, because it didn’t fit into the ethos of Fit and Healthy at Any Size. I’m not less of an advocate for body positivity and inclusivity because I want to make better lifestyle choice for myself that will coincide with loosing weight. I know what my personal health story is, and I will not be shamed into maintaining a size that does not make feel my best and I will not be shamed for wanting to make my body stronger and test its bounds and limits. Body positivity and inclusivity should mean supporting anyone and everyone in their journey of acceptance and healthy habits regardless if it includes weight loss or not.

The challenge is over, and I signed up for a membership. I enjoy going to class, I don’t need to think, I just need to move. I go before work and it just gives that energy for the day and I sleep so much better now. F45 is a style of exercise that I can get behind because it’s made a difference for me and I learnt how to feed myself in a way that is sustainable and I can maintain. The challenge itself recognises that you cannot do it for more than 8 weeks so you can give your body a rest and the time to heal. And rest I shall, because this chick-a-dee loves a good sleep in.

Busy Bees Learn

“A day spent without learning is a day wasted”

Anonymous

That phrase is something that gets thrown around all the time, from entrepreneurs to teachers to every Joe on the street you meet. Learning seems to be the key to everything in life. Want a better life for your kids? Send them to a good school. Want a new promotion? Teach yourself all the skills you need to impress your boss. All these learning premises rely on finding the right teacher or course to get you ahead or taking the self-help approach.

To be frank, I am someone who learns best from others. Sit me in front of a teacher, give me the books, the videos and the study guides and I will learn it. You name it, I’ve (tried) to memorise it. I struggle a lot to learn from life’s lessons however. Throw me in a new situation and I will struggle and flounder a lot longer than those around me.

Take full time work for example. At the beginning of the year I started a year long internship that was full time. I have to drive about an hour (or more if there’s traffic or I don’t leave by 6AM) to get to work. I read the priority list of things to do and start my day at the lab bench hoping to God I don’t blow anything up today. The first few weeks I was there I struggled really hard to adjust and pick up this new way of life. I wasn’t use to having to work 8 hours, 5 days a week, all in a row. I was used to shift work, starting at all sorts of hours and sleeping in most days and having sometimes 3 days off, 6 days on, but with a lot more flexibility. All the interns around me in other departments seemed to pick up on things really quickly. They learned the ropes just by being thrown into the deep end, I however, was seriously contemplating quitting one month in. I was tired, cranky and resistant to adjusting.

When Life throws a situation for me to learn from, I panic and start over-thinking things. I’m not someone who learns just by watching and observing, pulling things apart and putting them back together. I’m someone who learns by making mistakes. A lot of them. Usually making the same mistake a couple of times over until I do pick things up and just run with it. At the same time I learn a lot from having debates and conversations with people. Which sometimes drives my boyfriend mad because he is more the type to hear opinions and then formulate his thoughts, rather than get into a heavy debate.

Different people learn differently. I learn from observing those around me, debating and reading. Others learn from just attempting it and figuring it out organically. Whatever the case is, Life just want you to learn, whether you are resistant to it or not. Can you learn something new everyday? That I am unsure of, but what I do know, is that this busy bee is trying her hardest how to learn to juggle everything thrown at her.

The Uni Struggle

Little 18 year old me could not wait to start university. It was an opportunity for me to completely reinvent myself, make some changes and be that person I always wanted to be. I was going to be a socialite, make a lot of friends, finally get a boyfriend and be noticed. 5 years of finals and assessments and all the added stress anxiety and that’s what I thought I was going to get.

Unfortunately things didn’t exactly turn out how I wanted it to. Getting a wild haircut (hello shaved head and bleach blonde) and trying to be cool didn’t give me anything that I wanted. I always (and still do) fall into my own habits and insecurities. University turned out to be quite a lonely experience, especially in the first few years and perhaps because everyone around knew I was trying too hard.

I made all the wrong choices in dating and wound up with people that just didn’t care. My one good quality – which turns out to be my downfall, is caring too much. I ended up with people that were all too happy to keep me hidden away, but more than welcome for me to have them as the centre of my world because it suited them. I was desperate enough for company that I let it happen.

With going to uni also came the subtle expectations to do well and the extra pressure, not verbalised but always there from family to make them proud. I went from being towards the top of the class in high school to just scraping averages at uni. It was earth shattering to realise that the one thing I based my worth on, my intelligence, wasn’t actually that great or that high. I’m still dealing with the fact that I’m just not as smart as I thought I was, and that PhD I though I was going to get in high school wasn’t going to happen.

After five years and now that I am in my last semester I’ve realised I didn’t blossom in high school and I most certainly didn’t blossom in uni, but maybe after I’ll fall into myself. Things are already looking up. I got myself a boyfriend, not from uni but because of who I am, a full time internship, not based on just my smarts but other skills and maybe just maybe I’m cool enough in my own right.

And this Little Piggy Went to the Market

It is the right of any twenty something to spend a day at any sort of markets. Now, just because you were dragged there by someone doesn’t mean it isn’t a right of passage, trust me, it is.

I love Markets. I love the people, the stalls and the atmosphere. Obviously I have a preference for food markets, I cannot resist checking out fresh produce, unique chocolates and everything in between. Flea markets and the sort, however, I don’t always enjoy. Don’t sell me a t-shirt that is eaten by moths and charge me $50, just because you’ve labelled it vintage. Those people need to just take a step back.

Leaving that one gripe behind, I do have some favourite markets and a loonnnggg list of markets I need to visit very, very, very soon.

And I am one lucky girl. Sydney is spoilt in its choice of markets. So, here is a nice clean list of my favourites and wish list, with a few reasons why on the ones I love most:

The Favourites

Sydney Vegan Markets

I am not a vegan. I don’t think I ever will be, but some of my closest friends are vegan and I will scout high and low to make sure they get to have great experiences too. This is a bit of a mish- mash of a market: you’ve got food, you’ve got clothing, you’ve candles and you’ve got your activists, but all in all a great market.

Cambridge Markets EQ

Tramsheds Grower’s Markets

Want a market just for awesome food and artisan delights? This is the one for you. If you want to try something or just purchase some really good quality fresh fruits and veggies or meats, just go. You’ll thank me later

The Wish List

Umina Beach Market

Bulli Forager’s Market

The one time I’ve done the Grand Pacific Drive, I packed myself up got on the road and took my bomb of a car and drove along the Grand Pacific Drive. For anyone that knows me best, this fact alone is hilarious because I hate driving, but it was worth it. The downside? I went on Saturday and kept seeing signs for the Bulli Market and it has intrigued me ever since. One day I will get there, when I’m ready to get in the seat of a car for that long again.

Bookworm

“Read a book Baby, it’ll make you feel better”

No truer a statement could have ever been said to me. I use books as my escape and my refuge, books take me to a safe and happy place.

When I was younger, you couldn’t pull me away from books. I would zoom through them in a matter of hours and feel so accomplished afterwards. Today I can barely read through a couple of pages without being distracted, but I still get that same feeling of accomplishment.

My favourite books when I was kid were the obvious: Harry Potter (I am a proud Hufflepuff, I dare you to get in my way), the Artemis Fowl series, and Eragon, but my all time favourite was My Sister Sif. Ruth Park’s novel married the two things at the time that I loved the most: marine life and fantasy. Park’s novel was also the first to ever make me cry from the words on a page. I remember vividly sitting in my bed, with covers pulled up and slamming the book shut. Letting all the emotions toss over me as I sobbed into my pillow about the injustice of it all. It was a scene I have always remembered and never let go of.

As I’m getting older, my tastes have shifted slightly. I still love fantasy, but dystopian or crime novels novels seem to attract me from every corner. Nomad by James Swallow has captivated me the last few weeks. The mix of English Spy tangled up with MI6 is enough to excite my secret wish to be a spy. (*ahem* MI6 if you’re reading this, I am the perfect candidate). More science-y books like the Mind of God or A is for Arsenic satisfy that part of my mind that is always curious and nit-picking at the world around me.

I feel though this can’t be a blog post or blog about blooming in your twenties without mentioning some form of self-help book. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read many, the sparse few I have read I’ve just given away because I honestly don’t like being told what to do. Most that I picked up seem to think there is something inherently wrong with me and that I’m the one that needs to change to fit in better. As if. One I have stuck with and are verging to the point of actually enjoying is You Do You by Sarah Night. It’s not exactly a unique perspective on self-help and getting what you want, but I do like they way she writes and engages with me as the reader.

Books are personal, and they’re not for everyone but my life would be so much more different if I didn’t have books. I’m curious to know, what are the books that you held close when you were a kid, and which are the ones now that excite you?

Date Your Friends

I am a big firm believer in that everyone should date their friends. A date is not necessarily something that needs to be romantic and only with someone you want to bang. It should be an opportunity to show your friends that you care and that you love them and enjoy having them in your life.

Friend dates are important to me because I have such a small circle of friends. I lost a whole lot of close friends from high school just because of the passage of time and going to different universities. We still see each other now and again, but maybe once a year or less. Then there’s the fact that I just didn’t make that many friends at uni. I struggle being social and I don’t know how to just casually ask someone out for a coffee after class just so I can establish some form of friendship. Most people I would have thought of becoming friends with, disappeared the next semester because we just didn’t have the same timetable.

I have a total of 2 friends I made after 5 years of uni that I purposefully make an effort to maintain a relationship.

There’s also a massive sense of self worth that comes from going on a Friend Date. Those precious moments where you catch up and just forget about everything else going on in the world and know that the other person sitting across from you is just as interested in knowing how you are as much as you want to know how they are.

I have two regular friend dates that I go on. One with the beautiful gals M & M and the other with E, who I’ve known since the first day of high school. Both of these regular dates are special to me in more ways than one.

With M & M, it’s the regular catch-ups every second Friday, something to look forward to, something that is always in my calendar and giving me anticipation. These dates have honestly taken me from some very dark and harrowing times for a brief moment, and remind myself that I am worthy the attention of other people and I do have the capability to give my time and heart to two people that won’t mess with it.

Dates with E are comfortable, familiar and safe. I have known her for so long that I can just relax and talk and talk and talk and be heard. E has seen me lose friends, seen me angry, seen me exasperated, seen me in love. When I need that reassurance that everything will be okay, when I need that familiar-ness to pull me back, I will always have her. And I hope I am the same for her.

I still love romantic dates, I love the special time I spend with my boyfriend and the constant, unconditional reassurance and love I get from him. But maintaining friendships through dates is still important because these are the people that form my extended family and it’s important I let them know that, and to reassure them that I will always be there for them, as much as they are there for me.

What are your favourite friend dates and who are your special friends in life?