I thought I’d pop this post up whilst I work on a few others that will be coming out over the next few weeks. Also, Christmas is coming up so I’m excited to think up ideas for Blogmas! Although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, I thought it’d be good to take a moment to write about what I’m thankful for. 💕

Friends

I’ve always believed you are who you are because of your surroundings, what you consume via television, film, books or various other media, your upbringing and family, and most importantly your friends. I am so thankful for the friends that I have in my life who have unabashedly supported me in everything that I’ve done and said I will eventually do.

And to Mutay, my biggest cheerleader, I love you wholeheartedly.

Family

I sometimes feel I take my family for granted but I’m lucky to have the family I have. We’ve had our ups and downs but I am thankful for all the love and support I have received.

Being alive

A bit of an obvious one, but yes, I am thankful to be alive. I have days where I wake up and sometimes I need a little reminding why my life is okay and that is actually going to okay – those reminders are everything. My health hasn’t been the greatest, but I’m here breathing so I thank my lucky stars and whichever guardian angel is watching over me. (And probably thinking, oooh she’s a hot mess)

The ability to travel

A big one! I’m thankful to my mother for taking me on many holidays when my sister and I were younger; instilling in me my travel bug and opening my eyes to new cultures and food. I’ve been blessed to visit 18 countries, so far, so here’s to more in the New Year!

Books

I am thankful for books having the ability to transport me to a different world where I can escape from the real world for a couple of hours/days/months. Where I can explore new characters, new worlds and follow various, crazy plotlines and expand my own horizon.

My blog

I am thankful to this little patch on the Internet for giving me an outlet. I would never have imagined I’d be blogging for this long but here we are. There have been many bumps in the road, but I’m hopeful that from now and in the future I’ll be coming up with so much more content. Bigger and better, right?

What are you thankful for?

As I write this, I am sitting in a hostel in Iceland and honestly, it still feels like a dream. I don’t think it has hit me yet that I’m on holiday, so I’ll give it a few more days. Regardless, I was meant to have this post up yesterday but as that was the day we were flying out, things also went flying out the window.

Have you ever been in place where you think, nothing gets much better than this? Like when you’re eating some really good pancakes or reading a book that you can’t seem to put down? I always find that it’s the little things that make me happy and that sometimes it doesn’t need to be a big showstopper to make me smile.

This month has been up and down but a few things have made me happy and it hasn’t been a massive shitshow.

Support 🙏🏽

I’ve mentioned this before but work hasn’t been great. It got to a point where a had a breakdown at work and if a team leader had sent me home then I probably wouldn’t have come back again. However, in a roundabout way some people at work have been really supportive. I had no idea we had an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) at work which is a 24/7 helpline for when you’re feeling down or stressed and who can also connect you with counsellors if need be. They also have an app which has exercises to help meditate, breathing exercises and just reducing stress in general. I haven’t had a chance to fully use the app but I’ve already downloaded it and it’s been really useful already.

I’m also happy for the support from my friends when I said that I wanted to work abroad. A few people knew already but not many, so I finally broke it to the rest of my group the other day. Loving their responses – they were all so excited! I need that hype to get me all the way to actually making those steps to work abroad. It’s a huge deal when I really think about it, but I’m glad that I have the right people backing my corner.

TV 📺

I recently finished watching Maniac on Netflix and I absolutely loved it. The way it handled mental health was so gentle without poking at it with a big stick and going, “Oooh, what do we have here?” It was so nuanced, and I loved how many layers it had to it and how each episode interwined. It was surprising to see Jonah Hill in this sort of role because I am so used to him in a comedic role, but he was absolutely amazing. I have no idea what a schizoprenic person is like, so I can’t really comment on his portrayal of one but his acting was so good. He made me want to scoop him up and just protect him from this bad world. Emma Stone’s character was equally as good – I thought at first she was just a bitch for no reason, but as the series goes by you see her story unfold and ugh. Her English accent was actually really good, as well!

Books 📚

Gillian Flynn is a dark writer. I don’t say that lightly either. I picked up her book Dark Places when I was in WHSmith and when I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a mystery novel surrounding the massacre of the main characters family. The story is told in a series of flashbacks as well as detailing the life of the only survivor of the massacre. It was a really interesting book, especially as it unfolds and you find out who the murderer is.

I also read her other book Sharp Objects directly after finishing Dark Places and it was another one I couldn’t put down. The main character is a reporter who is sent back to her hometown to find out about the murder of two little girls. This isn’t your typical murder mystery book – this delves deep into a whole array of topics. I would say it quite a triggering book and also extremely terrifying. Flynn is genuinely an amazing writer. If you’ve read Gone Girl and liked it, then I would highly recommend these two as well. Sharp Objects has also been made into a TV show starring Amy Adams, which I’ve only just started but is already living up to the book.

Music 🎶

Ready Player One soundtrack! I love 70s/80s music, so much.

What are some things that have made you happy this month? Let me know in the comments!

As you might have noticed I have made the move to chynnawebley.com. I wanted to focus more on my portfolio, which has definitely been neglected for far too long and therefore have put my blog here.

I didn’t expect to be away for this long again but my mental health comes first. Blogging, for me, has always been a passion of mine but in recent months it seemed more like a chore rather than a fun little hobby. I love seeing everyone else excelling in the blogosphere and I’m always sneaking around, peeking at everyone’s posts and cheering on everyone’s achievements. However, when it came to my own blog, I would open it up and just feel nothing.

I never wanted to fall out of love with blogging, so I decided to take an unexpected hiatus and focus on other things and I’m pleased I did. I’m now ready to come back with full force, with better content and to reconnect with you guys.

I haven’t written anything in what feels like eons, but I’m slowly trying to get back into freelance writing. (If you know anyone looking for a freelance writer, or know any gigs going please feel free to email me)

WORK 💼

Work has not been great. It got to a point where I’d wake up in the morning and feel utter dread to go into work. I had to call in sick; otherwise, if I went in then it would have been really detrimental to me. I remember going in before when I was feeling like that and it was dreadful.

But those weeks that I took off were good for me and it got me thinking (dangerous, I know) about what I want to do in life and how I feel like I’ve been working for so long with nothing to show for it. I attempted to search for jobs to do with my degree (Communications, Culture and Media) and I was really on it for a while. I even got an interview, but then I really deeped it and knew that I didn’t want to do an office job; Monday – Friday, 9 – 5:30.

I like my 4 day week. I don’t mind doing long hours if it means getting a day off during the week. However, when I don’t enjoy what I do it does become taxing. It affects my whole self. I can become withdrawn and I get tired really easily. I wish it was easy for me to just quit and be done with it, but let’s face it – this economy is a tough one to live in and whoever says money doesn’t make you happy is a goddamn liar.

My time away from work gave me space to mull over and I figured out that what I need is a change in scenery. So, whilst it will be a long while before anything happens because I need to save money I have decided that I want to work abroad.

I’ve already come up with a savings plan, I’ve narrowed it down to three countries and I will most likely be looking to teach English. It’s a big step but an exciting one and I already have the support of my best friend and my mother knows of my plans as well, so I am extremely pumped to get the gears going on this. There’s a lot to figure out and let’s face it moving to a different country is a whole new ballpark, but if I could do it back in 2011 then I can definitely do it again in 2020. Fingers crossed!

BLOGGING 📝

I did a clear out. When I was transferring my content over, I realised I had a lot of old posts. I mean really old dating back to 2009 and so I sifted through them and realised that whilst they will always hold a special place in my heart (it’s when I started blogging, after all) they weren’t really relevant to what my blog content is nowadays.

I saw a shift in the way I started blogging in 2013, so I decided to clear out all the posts before then. I’m also looking at coming up with more content and becoming more consistent in my blogging. I always make promises that I sometimes can’t keep, but I’ll try and do better, though.

Do better, do better – my mantra when it comes to this blog. I don’t want to force it, of course, but I really want to give it another go. Because writing will always be my first love and I want to get back into the rhythm of just writing because I want to rather than seeing it as just another thing I need to cross off my to-do list.

I want to get stuck into my blog series’ again – The Feminist Diaries, Let’s Talk About…, The Food Diaries – because I really enjoyed writing those and let’s face it, it’s more fun when you’re writing about what you love. And for me, as you should know, that’s food. I might start some new series; maybe about what I’m watching/reading at the moment, a specific travel series, pieces of stories I’m working on at the moment.

All I really want to do is start afresh without having to start all over again, but rather build on what I already have in place.

HEALTH 🏥

I was doing great and then I wasn’t doing great. I suffer from eczema, and whilst it has been under control for many years, for some reason I had the biggest flare up I’ve ever had since God knows when. One moment, my skin was semi-rash free. Next thing I knew, it wasn’t.

There could have been a variety of factors involved, including the change in weather (it was an extremely hot summer for us), my diet was shit or I was under a lot of stress at work. Needless to say, it was not fun waking up in the morning with dotted blood all over my sheets from where I’d scratched myself at night.

I literally had to avoid all sorts of soaps and shower gels, so as not to irritate. I took only 2-minute showers, enough to be clean. I had to slather myself in hydrocortisone cream and emollient cream. I’m usually very cavalier about my eczema. Like I don’t actually care about having my arms out even when it’s very obvious. But this recent thing that happened had me wanting to wear long sleeves all the time. The skin above my upper lip kept cracking and I just felt really self-conscious.

It was tough, but I got through, as I always do. It would just be a lot easier if I didn’t have it, you know? I don’t need extremely clear skin, but it would be great if I didn’t have to worry about itching and scratching and worried that my skin is peeling off/bleeding again.

Other than that, it’s been alright. I attempted to do the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP), which is a version of the Paleo diet, designed to help treat autoimmune diseases such as eczema. I didn’t stick to it because the week after I started, my family from the Philippines came to visit and because I have no self-control I ended up eating out with them a lot and they kept cooking and putting stuff in the fridge and well… yeah.

Do I want to feel better when I wake up in the morning and not feel like I haven’t slept in a hundred years? Absolutely. It may sound like I’m making excuses (yeah, I probably am let’s face it), but there are so many factors in life and for me, it’s not so easy to control all of them the way I want. So, for now, I will focus on what makes me happy and I feel like that will sort of get me on the right track into not only having a healthy lifestyle but also a healthy mind.

WHAT’S NEXT? ✈️

Focus. That’s what I need to do. Focus.

Also… going on this trip this month with Mutay and living our best lives. First stop, Iceland then flying over to Toronto and then finally stopping in New York. We planned this for our birthday, but because our birthday is in August and it’s always expensive around that time, we moved our traditional trip to October and I am so excited.

I need this time to get away from London. I think that’s what’s also got me in a rut. If I stay in London for too long, then I get antsy. Sure, there’s plenty to do here and I can meet up with my friends but there’s a whole fucking world to see. We are so small in comparison to the Earth we live on. I feel like we should all take it upon ourselves to discover what’s out there.

Sure, not everyone can do that but if you can then take advantage of that privilege. Why?

How did we get here?

Mojo is a funny thing. Sometimes I have so much of it overspills out of my pores. Sometimes I have none at all and all I want to do is lay in my room in the dark and not do anything. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, mainly due to external forces but partly my own doing, as well. 

But here I am, writing a post after what seems like a lifetime. How is everyone? What have I missed? I’ll be attempting to catch up with the blogosphere once this is posted. It’s not that I haven’t missed the blogosphere, it’s just that I got to a point where I couldn’t bear to do anything. All I wanted to do was watch TV (mostly Steven Universe) and eat a lot of crap.

My writing has suffered so badly because of this. I haven’t written properly in months; not even a smidgen. Camp NaNoWriMo is next month, so I will be attempting that in order to get my creative juices flowing.

It’s been hard, people. I cannot lie. Even writing this now requires a lot of effort from me but the thing is I do want to do it – I just have no energy. I have been drained. It’s so weird. I’m slowly getting back to my old self, though. It had gotten to a point where people at work were starting to notice that I wasn’t myself but slowly but surely. I’ll be fine. Self-care is so important.

So, where do we go from here?

Blog Revamp ✨

As I’m sure you’ve noticed I have a new blog layout! It’s nothing fancy and if you’ve followed me for a long time, then I’m sure you know I love a minimal design. But seeing as I’m trying to creep back into the blogosphere, I thought I might as well come back with a new look. 

Writing 🖊️

As I mentioned, I’ll be attempting Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I really want to make some headway on my book. I have 50k+ words down already, for God’s sake. I hate myself for being such a procrastinator and I know the book will not be written by itself. I’m doing some brainstorming and coming up with some new ideas. I’m refusing to go back and touch what’s already been written because I know I’ll get sucked into a black hole and never come out to actually continue the story.

I’ll also be making a conscious effort to post more on the blog and my portfolio. There was once a time that I could churn out 3 blog posts in a day and nowadays it takes me a whole day just to think of half a post. That needs to change. Writing has always been my first love, and need to keep nurturing that if I want to get anywhere in life.

Reading 📚

I’m the sort of person who reads about 50 gagillion books at the same time. At the moment I’m reading:

  • This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • The Waste Lands by Stephen King
  • How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
  • Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

I also still have a summer reading list from like 2015 that I have yet to complete. To be a bookworm. If you have any other suggestions for new reads, though, my inbox is always open. 😬

Fitness Journey ⛹🏽

I attempt one every year and it always fizzles out, but I’m trying really hard this year guys. I’ve been to the gym more frequently with Mutay and it’s been amazing. I’ve found I don’t have to post every time I go to the gym just to hold myself accountable. Not everyday social media. Do the #gainz for yourself, right? Been busting that 4.4L of water every day – my skin is a lot clearer than it used to be, although not the best. I think it’s because I love alcohol too much, but irrelevant.

Self Care 💆

I’ve realised that self-care doesn’t mean locking yourself in your room and wallowing in self-pity. Actually, I knew that already and I’ve written before about what to do to cultivate positivity. I must confess that I sometimes don’t listen to my own advice. Have you ever found that it’s so much easier to give other people advice, but when it comes to listening to yourself it is so much harder? Television is so cathartic for me. It is my greatest escape tool and I will always default to it when nothing else works. I’ve been listening to podcasts and music. Simple pamper sessions: sheet mask, painting my nails, bubble bath, Netflix – they do wonders for me. Little, little things to try and get me back on track.

Clear Out 🗑️

The thing I’ve been attempting to do since last year is clear out my wardrobe. There are so many clothes that I own that I know I will never, ever wear again but for some reason, I’m still hanging onto them. I keep telling myself that on my days off, I’ll start my clear out but I never do. I have no idea how I’m going to get around to it, I just know that I need to. Especially as I basically just wear the same clothes everyday, anyway. It’ll be so refreshing, as well.

That’s where I’m going from now on. You know that song by Miley Cyrus? The Climb.

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

Hot damn. Deuces, for now. ✌️

 

… can be difficult especially in the age of social media. So often, I’ve scrolled through my Instagram feed or Twitter timeline and felt myself sinking into an abyss because I see that people are having a better run at life than I am. But then I remember that social media is a highlight reel, and unless they turn around and show it then I’m not going to see that person’s bad days. 

But how to cultivate positive thinking when my phone is an extension of my hand and I have no self-control to speak of yet, so can’t just switch off just like that? I try to use it to my advantage. I listen to podcasts that get me pumped throughout the week (The Receipts Podcast, Say Your Mind, 2 Dope Queens (as of recent)) and I try to focus on social media posts that talk about the person’s achievements or specifically positive thinking.

Outside of that, if I’m feeling down I resort to my go-to definitely going to put me in a positive mood – reading. My cousin recently gifted me Lilly Singh’s book ‘How To Be A Bawse’ (thank you so much, bby girl, I love you, you the best) and whilst the majority of it is stuff I already know, the way she writes make it so relatable and got me thinking, “Okay, Chynna. Don’t just soak up this advice. DO something with it.”

This past week has been so up and down internally for me. So despite getting good news during the middle of the week, I was still in a foul mood all day. It wasn’t until I listened to something that my mood immediately lifted. I ended the day laughing and smiling and feeling so inspired. It’s amazing how a little thing can immediately turn your mood around.

It’s not going to be easy to be in a positive mindset 24/7. Allowing yourself to have a ‘bad’ day, so to speak, is still good for you. Just to acknowledge that these are feelings you are allowed to have. 

Small ways to cultivate positive thinking:

  • Listen to a funny podcast like 2 Dope Queens
  • Read a book and get lost in a new world
  • Write down what you’re grateful for
  • Crank up some happy music and have a boogie
  • Read more of my blog 😉

Dear Chynna,

I’ve always written letters to our past selves, but really what good will that do? We can’t go back and change the past, we can only learn from it. I thought that this time around, we’d have a go at writing to our future self.

I also didn’t want to write a generic letter that states the goals that I want to be achieved at this certain time, blah blah blah. I’m still at a stage in my life where I don’t know exactly where I want to be in say 5 years time. I just know that I want us to be happy, as cheesy as that sounds, and have a book published. Whether we’ll be in a long-term relationship or by ourselves, as long as we’re happy that is all that matters.

Ideally, we should be settled, living away from home and in a job that makes us financially stable. I think those are realistic expectations, so it’s all about taking the steps to achieve these goals. 

In the pursuit of happiness, things get difficult but it’s what we do that makes the difference. Do we just sit there and moan and complain that nothing is going right? Or do we stand up and do something about it? 

Life has its ups and downs but with a good support system then you know that things are going to be okay. Life is not perfect but that’s what makes it fascinating, exciting, amazing. If we let all the bad shit that happens to us get in the way then we would be worn down to a husk of a human being.

When we feel like crying, let it out. When we feel down, find someone to talk to. When you feel happy, share that with someone. When something good has happened in your life, shout it from the rooftops!

I am a firm believer in karma – put good into the universe, and you will be rewarded, no matter how small. No one needs negative vibes – we only subscribe to positive ones. 

Of course, not every day will be a good day – it’s unrealistic to expect that but if we go about life with a positive mindset and just keep doing us then it’s going to be alright. The goals we’ve set, we will have achieved by now because you know what? We. Got. This. 

Love and peace, baby girl. We the best.

Chynna x

A Letter to my 16-year old self | A Letter to my 18-year old self

January went by in a haze of brokeness, post-Christmas blues and feeling a fat lump because I ate too much. Doesn’t the winter make you want to hibernate and do nothing else? The way London is moving these days, as well, I actually can’t deal and I need a sun holiday ASAP. (Does anyone want to buy me a ticket? Anyone?)

Did anyone feel like January is always the longest? “What day is it?” “January 74th.” Wheeew. Despite the longness of January, let’s move onto some of my favourites of the month!

Notebook Therapy

I love stationery. I have tons of notebooks, coloured pens, pencils, coloured pencils, everything and I must admit it is a bit ridiculous but I can’t get enough. I don’t remember how I found out about Notebook Therapy but their site had me wanting to buy everything on it. 

In the end, I settled for their star sign collection and now I’m practising bullet journaling. Don’t ask me how long this phase will last (I’ll be the first to admit that I get hyped about things and then I get too tired) but I hope it actually works out. I tried out weekly spreads but realised monthly spreads are better for me. I’ll be using in conjunction with my Trigg planner, so I feel extra organised.

Trigg Planner

Speaking of Trigg planner, I am absolutely loving mine. I did mention before that it was a bit daunting because there’s so much in there, but now that I’m in the flow I can’t get enough! I just love that it’s split into sections that really allow you to focus on what you want to focus on and each month has different intentions. So, January’s intention was ”, and my planner really helped me to hone in on that.

eBooks

Tara was kind enough to share with me her library of eBooks, so I’ve been having fun delving in there and trying to reach my book target for this year! I started reading Animorphs, and I’m also rereading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I have an eReader, but I haven’t used it in ages. I don’t even know where it is, to be honest, but I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I can read on my journeys to work.

Say Your Mind Podcast

Say Your Mind, unofficially known as Suck Your Mum, is a podcast by the amazing Kelechi Okafor. She gives her unique take on current events and it is giving me life. I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but this one has me looking forward to tuning in on Mondays. I must say, though, that listening to this on the bus is HARD because most times I want to start jumping up and hollering or cackle like a mad woman because Kelechi is so funny and relatable.  

My wig gets snatched every time I listen to a new episode. Kelechi is witty, insightful and just a baby girl. I love this podcast because it is unfiltered and people need to be slapped with the truth, let’s face it. She gives me so much Monday motivation and I love that she reads out tarot cards on her show, too. When she explains the meaning behind the card that she’s pulled I am genuinely like: 

Korean Dramas

This was inevitably going to be on this list because if you follow me on Twitter then YOU SHOULD KNOW ALREADY. January dramas included:

  • Goblin
  • I Am Not A Robot
  • Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
  • Cheese In The Trap (still watching)
  • A Korean Odyssey (still watching)

I won’t go into too much otherwise this post will go from 0 – 💯 real quick and let’s face it I’m sure the majority of you won’t stick around for that. But to boil it down, I’ve basically been in my feelings the whole of January. There’s nothing like coming home, eating dinner and then throwing on my onesie on and snuggling in with a drama. NOTHING LIKE IT.

What are some of your January favourites? 

My last post of 2017 mainly focused on what had happened in the year and ended with a couple of questions about what I’ll be doing in terms of self-improvement/self-love/self-care. I really enjoyed answering those questions and it felt good to write everything down. I feel like with writing those answers and publishing them on my blog for everyone to see, I must now be held accountable. 

This post will focus on my actual goals for 2018. I FaceTimed my cousin last night, and she really inspired me with her own goals for the year. She said that she feels like this year is going to be her year and I feel the same way. I can feel it in my bones (and not just because it’s cold)!

I recently tweeted a few things I’m looking to do this year, and I’m looking forward to taking steps to achieve these things:

✨ Speak things into existence
✨ Remove negativity in my life
✨ Get a jar and when something good happens, write it down and put it in
✨ Make a vision board
✨ Buy a new planner

I am a bit late in getting my planner for this year, but I finally ordered one after researching for about 2 hours for one that I think will help me with my journey. I found Trigg Life Mapper, which seems promising. 

“Each week you write down your goals – categorised into “self”, “work”, “passion”, “relationships”  – and the action you will take. You get a day-to-a-page format with space at the top to prioritise that day’s tasks, with bullet points for appointments underneath. On a Sunday, it asks you to reflect back on the week and note what you’re grateful for. There’s a six-month review in June then at the end of the year, you are encouraged to take stock of what you have achieved.” – Independent, 10 best 2018 planners

I feel like it echoes the Happiness Planner I have, but at half the price. Whilst I really enjoyed the Happiness Planner, I think it is time for me to try something new. I will most likely post my first impressions on Instagram, so keep an eye out on that. 

My goals for this year are probably similar to many others because they mostly include health, fitness, personal growth. The strides I took in 2017 definitely laid the foundations for helping me with my goals and I am super excited!

Finish my first draft

This is different to finishing my book because it is a long process to get to the final product. I want to at least have a first draft completed by the end of February, which I think is definitely possible. There’s also the fact that I have 50k+ words already written of my story, so that’s a nice little headstart. I’ve already made progress with writing up character backstories and timelines, and I plan to keep track of all this via a thread I started last year:

This is the first time in a long time I’ve been excited about one of my plots. I have (or had) this habit of starting stories and never getting around to finishing them. I know exactly how I want this story to end, so let’s see what happens!

Dress more like a grown up

I was having this conversation with Mutay last night, and this goal may sound a bit funny but honestly, it is something that needs to be done. Whenever I go to work I genuinely feel/look like one of the college kids that I see roaming around outside Sainsbury’s. I don’t much care for clothes, I’ll be honest, but I feel like I need to start dressing my age. Ready for my glow up, 2k18.

Somebody just needs to buy me a whole wardrobe, though.

Maintain relationships 

I have pretty strong relationships with the people in my life and I just want to keep that going, really. This means making time for people. I know this can be difficult with school or work or other social commitments, but if those people are important to you then you will make the time. 

I am hoping to get out a bit more this year and whether this will garner new, lasting connections, we’ll have to see, but it would be nice. There are so many interesting people in this world and I love hearing other people’s perspectives, as well.

Implement healthy habits

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. I started off really well with exercising and healthy eating last year and then I fell off the bandwagon several times, and then it got to October, I want to say, and bam. I was just straight sitting on the road going nowhere.

I stopped making my own healthy lunches and would either grab a meal deal from Sainsbury’s or bring in last night’s leftovers which usually consisted of a lot of rice. I haven’t been to the gym in months. I’ve only recently started drinking water diligently, again.

My skin has suffered because of my laziness, and it’s gotten to a point where I know that I need to do better. Not just because I want a hot bod but because if I don’t actually look after my body then my eczema flares up and it just makes life really hard. So, I’m writing it down now – I WILL MAKE BETTER HEALTH DECISIONS IN 2018.

Work on my portfolio

I have had chynnawebley.com for how many years now, and aside from posting a bit on there, I’ve largely left it abandoned. I want to revamp it, add new content, all sorts – I know I want this domain to be a portfolio, but I don’t know what direction I want it to take. Keep an eye out for updates!

Get into a strong blogging habit

Again, last year I started off really strong, had a bit of a wobble mid-year and then sort of got back on it towards the end. I definitely want to put more time and effort on my blog this year, as I do feel like it has been neglected a bit. Also, actually catch up on the blogosphere because I’m really behind on posts/comments. 

I have many goals I want to achieve this year including more travelling, but I feel like that one’s a given. Like I mentioned earlier, I feel like this is the year to achieve everything! I know I can achieve these goals if I put my mind to it, and as above, I’m going to be doing more speaking things into existence. 🗣️

We’re 7 days into the new year and I’ve already found my theme tune of 2018.

A year of mainly ups, but some downs and the chorus of all of us singing, “Where the hell has the year gone?” I was going to do a reflection post just like I did at the start of the year, but Mutay sent me some questions which I thought be a perfect way to reflect on the year. First, however, I’ll be going through how my year went and revelling in the fact that I have actually achieved so much.

Let’s start off with January, which was actually a quiet start to the year. I wanted to focus on my goals, which included the use of my Happiness Planner. Unfortunately, toward the end of the year, I stopped using my planner but it was a good way to get myself organised. I started to regularly post every Sunday, as well, which got me back into my blogging flow after having been out of sync for a while.

February was my first trip of the year to Edinburgh with Mutay and it was such a nice escape from London for a few days. Despite it being mighty cold, we still had an amazing time (aside from the minor allergic reaction I had) and I definitely want to visit Edinburgh again, as well as other parts of Scotland. That month I also reflected on what it means to be mixed race, a topic I had wanted to write since 2015. It started off my journey into looking into my identity and what that means to me.

This brings us to March where a talk that Mutay and I attended with Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche fired up The Feminist Diaries. We haven’t written a post for the series in a while, but I’m hoping in the new year to get that restarted again. Feminism is not something I really looked into before but I’m glad that Mutay and Chimamanda opened my eyes for me to be aware of the world we live in. We also celebrated International Women’s Day with the theme being #BeBoldForChange and the conversations surrounding women and supporting, raising, inspiring and motivating women across all fields of work were amazing. AnneMarie, a long time blogger friend, also invited me to write a piece for her Walang Hiya movement, which was incredibly freeing for me to claim both sides of ethnicity without ever feeling like I’m invalidating one side. She created a digital space for Womxn identifying / Femme Filipinx diaspora folks to reclaim the phrase “Walang Hiya”, which has been traditionally used to shame Filipinxs – you can read more stories and learn more here.

My first theatre trip of the year was in April where Mutay and I went to see An Inspector Calls, which really resonated with me. I felt that the play truly reflected today’s society and despite being set in 1912, actually written in 1944, this play is timeless and can be interpreted as an attempt to align its morals and lessons to the politically turbulent ground we’ve currently been having. I also started fundraising for one of my chosen charities of the year, Anaphylaxis Campaign, after being inspired by Tara!

May was a particularly trying month for me. I wrote an honest piece on my alopecia for the first time on my blog with amazing feedback and support, but it also opened something inside me that I wasn’t ready for. I was diagnosed with alopecia when I was 7, however, this year I finally visited the doctor after years of it getting worse and was told that I have scarring alopecia. The truth that my hair would probably never grow back hit me like a ton of bricks, and truly I wasn’t prepared for any of it. So at the end of the month, I took a hiatus.

Understandably, June was quiet in terms of blogging because of the hiatus, however, I did get to finally (and I mean finally) meet long-time O.G. blogger, Pauline, and Hamdah. You can read all about it here – it was the most amazing day ever. I’ve mentioned this several times about meeting online friends and how there’s this fear that it’ll be super awkward when you meet for the first time but thankfully, it wasn’t like that at all! I am so glad I finally got to meet these two incredible ladies.

July was a pretty good month. I got to meet up with more internet friends, Shan and Tiff, and eat more KBBQ than was probably necessary. Hamdah started interning in London, so we got to meet up a couple of times as well, and Pauline came down for the day when she had her Gymshark event! I also got myself a new wig, which most likely started off my goal to wear as many different coloured wigs as possible next year. Mutay and I also attempted to do a 30-day shred, which I had meticulously planned out, but then I went away and that flew the hell out of the window. I took my mum to Venice for her 60th birthday, which was amazing and I ate so much pasta and gelato that it’s probably still running through my veins as I type.

Mutay and I got turnt in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in August as we both turned 25! It turned out to be one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on. We did so many things including a buggy safari, kayaking and a Game of Thrones tour. We enjoyed it so much so that we are planning on making a return next year! We’re opening to explore more of the other islands, as well. I also surprised Mutay with tickets to see Wicked and it was just 😍

September started off with a bang as I also got to meet Amy, another O.G. blogger, making my blogger meet up list ever growing. She was so sweet, amazing and funny IRL and I am so glad I finally got to meet her! September was also the month I decided to shave off the rest of my hair after debating with myself for the longest time whether or not to do so. September marked Alopecia Awareness Month, so it was fitting and I finally became everyone’s #favebaldie. I also went up to Sheffield for my sister’s university Open Day, where Pauline and Hamdah were the sweetest tour guides ever! I also got approached to write for British Style Society for London Fashion Week, which was a new venture for me but I am extremely glad I did it! And last, but not least, I actually walked 26.2-miles around London to raise money for Anaphylaxis Campaign – I managed to raised £313.24 and my work matched the amount, bringing the total to £626.48!

And so we come to October where I got my friends to paint me green for the day and I cosplayed as Gamora for Comic Con! It was an incredible day, and I’m still crying at the fact that a little girl wanted a photo of me. ME! We got to see a few celebrities without having to pay a ridiculous amount, including Warwick Davis roaming the floor on a mini segway which was beyond cute. I can’t wait until Con next year, I just have to decide who I want to cosplay this time!

I am usually opposed to Christmas music in November but when I got invited to a cooking lesson at The Cookery to make winter vegetable wellington and mince pies, I definitely was not opposed to the Michael Buble playing in the background. A trip to Taste of London sealed the deal, as well, and it was such an amazing day! November also marked a MASSIVE achievement for me in that I finally managed to complete NaNoWriMo and my ass wrote 50,000+ words in one month! I attended an All Night Lock-In with other WriMoers and it was such a crazy night – I still can’t get over the fact that I stayed up 12 hours straight just writing, drinking so much coffee, getting to know new people and playing games. It was such a new experience for me, but something I definitely want to do again! One of my goals in the new year is to finish my book, and 50,000+ words is definitely a start, right?! I also went to Paris with a friend and we went to Disney and it was just so magical – Disney really is the happiest place on Earth.

Finally, we come to the last month of the year, December! I decided to post during the week up to Christmas and it was challenging as I hadn’t written everyday for my blog in a long time, but again it was nice to get back into the blogging flow! I also rewatched Love Actually more times that I care to admit, ate a ridiculous amount of food, drank copious amounts of alcohol, hung out with the people that are special in my life and just had an overall amazing end to the year.

As we come to the beginning of a new year, let us all go into 2018 with a fresh mindset. Surround yourself with people who will help you progress, rather than hinder you. Believe in yourself. Be authentically and unapologetically you~I know this post is long enough as it is, but there’s more! To round up this post, I’ll be going through these questions. Feel free to answer these yourselves and leave your answers in the comments 💕

What am I shielding and why?

My heart. Why? Because even though I have a lot of love to give, not everyone deserves that love. They’ll take it and use it and then throw it away once they’re done. I want to shield my heart from toxic people and only be around people who will uplift me and support me to the fullest.

How have I evolved in 2017?

I would say that I’ve evolved in many ways. In my learning and understanding of the society we live in. The relationships I’ve built. The progress I’ve made at work despite there being a time where I just wanted to stay at home and wallow in my self pity. I’ve evolved in that I know who I am and what I want in life. I have a purpose in life that I am now consciously working toward and trying to achieve and I know my destiny is in my hands, that I can control it and that not everything lies in the fault of external factors. At the end of the day, my life is set up in my own terms.

Why is blooming essential for my shift?

To become a more successful person, both personally and career wise, blooming is essential. I know that I must be aware of my goals and what I should do to attain them. The quicker I try to obtain these results, the quicker the shift to success will happen.

How has my self-love grown this year?

Leaps and bounds. I’ve learnt to love myself as I am, with or without hair. I can look in the mirror and no longer cringe or want to burst into tears, because I’ve accepted reality. I know there will be some bad days, but I can accept that because everyone has bad days. The important thing to do is to learn from these days and move forward.

List 3 things related to self-care that you plan on implementing in 2018.

  • Make time for therapeutic activities (ie. yoga, mediation)
  • Connect to other people who are important to me instead of blocking them out
  • Get enough sleep

Who and what are you leaving in 2017 (and why)?

Headass people who don’t know what they want in life. Negativity, toxicity, all of that. I need a 2018 space where I can nurture my growth and not be filled with stagnant bodies.

That’s the presents unwrapped, the turkey eaten, the pigs in blankets devoured, all of the films watched. That’s Christmas done for another year! Can’t lie, I’ve definitely eaten enough to feed a small army today, not mention drank so much Moscato that it’s practically pouring out of my ears.

I hope you all had a magical Christmas, wherever you are in the world ~ 2018 is around the corner, so let us all wish for the best in the upcoming New Year.

PS. Doctor Who was pretty good this year. Scream for Lethbridge-Stewart. Scream because we have finally got rid of Steven Moffatt. Scream because of the new Doctor’s Yorkshire accent.

PPS. That’s Weekmas done and dusted! I hope you all enjoyed. I will be back New Year’s Eve with my year round up post 💕