Realstagram – 31/07/2017

I haven’t posted a photo of myself on Instagram since six months ago. And that particular photo included a caption about how I didn’t think I looked appealing in the photo. I was wearing an unflattering outfit, but secretly I also thought that I looked bloated and I knew that it wasn’t just a dissatisfaction with the way I looked, but also the number on the scales.

This shapeless outfit is not a favourite anymore. Blergh. Lovely photo of Tower Bridge though. Also I need to learn how to pose in photos.

That number slowly worked itself down, before I went on a lovely holiday, and the number more than returned – in fact I currently weigh more than I did when this photo was taken.

I don’t wear make-up because I don’t know how to very well. Back when I was at University that didn’t bother me, because I fit in my size S clothes, and it bothered nobody. Now I don’t fit in those clothes anymore and I just feel sad that I’ve got too little time and motivation to change anything about that, and I can’t even paint my face to hide these failures. I’ve just come back to the UK after a trip to Germany which always undermines my self-confidence in my appearance (story for another time).

However I also recently listened to the Off the Vine podcast hosted by former Bachelorette lead Kaitlyn Bristowe, with her guest Erin Treloar of Raw Beauty Talks. A lot of what they discussed resonated with me. While I do want to change the way I treat my body, because I’m not being active enough to keep it healthy, I also need to change the way I view myself. So this #realstagram post is a try at changing that, with one of the exercises mentioned: 3 things I love about myself.

  1. I love my optimism. I do get down about things occasionally, but generally I hold onto the hope that nothing in life is permanent, so the negative things won’t last. And it’s all in my power to change things – whether it’s changing the circumstances, or changing how I see things.
  2. I love my commitment to my friends. I don’t always feel like I do enough in between times I see them as we are spread across the country, and with others across continents, but in the moment that I am with them I give them 100% of my attention and love. I am my friends’ cheerleader when I chat with them, I always want them to do well in whatever they pursue.
  3. I love my persistence. I am not a success story by the measures that I know other people have imposed on me, but I am happy with where I am right now in my life. I have gotten to where I am because of the choices I have made, and none of them can have been wrong if I’m happy where I am. I also keep working towards my goals. I may experience set-backs but I don’t let that keep me from going for things over and over again.

It wasn’t easy writing this list. Reading it back, right after saying what I love about myself, I qualify it and minimise myself. I do that under the guise of being real, keeping myself honest and not exaggerating what I do and how I am. So I guess that’s identified an inner value I need to work on: confidence. (Not something I thought I needed to work on back at University, trust me.)

What are 3 things that you love about yourself? Is there an area of your personality you want to work on, but struggle with?


A Month of Missing Items

As it’s the Friday before the last week of July, we’ve now owned a flat for a month. To celebrate, we’ve invited friends from University and our time in London to our humble abode tomorrow for a couple of drinks, before we migrate to a more spacious venue like the Oiler Bar as our flat won’t fit more than 10 people, and about 20 said they’d show up.

We’re not sure how quickly we’ll have to transition over, given that our flat, while now feeling more home-like already, is still missing some essentials that my Mum would disapprove of.

Almost all our furniture, barring the sofa, has arrived and been set-up competently by a combination of the Philosopher, myself and our friend Charlie. We even replaced two sets of sockets in the flat with USB combination sockets – but as a word of warning, when I tried ironing using the regular plug socket on a USB one, I tripped the circuits for the room, so no using that unless I’m charging something on the USB or I don’t care to do anything else!

However we’re missing a couple of expected items, such as a big kitchen bin, or the aforementioned sofa. Our toilet roll is currently balanced on the handle of the toilet brush. So as we come up to our limitations we constantly Amazon-order to the rescue.

The first week of living in Canning Town both the Philosopher and I had taken time off from work to set up utility bills, be in the flat for deliveries and figure out the ins and outs of screwing in dry-wall plugs to put up picture frames. However we also managed to explore the area a bit. We visited the O2 in North Greenwich to watch a movie one day, for example, and took the Emirates Airline back home, which was fun although the start was somewhat shaky for me. Also pictured is the traditional Thursday fish and chips meal.

An exhausting morning

Waking up bright and early (at 5AM to the cawing of birds outside) we started shifting the boxes of our belongings that we packed in the weeknights before into our friend’s van. He’s been so kind to also help us put things together when it comes to the furniture we are getting for the flat.

Three people was actually the perfect set up once we got to the property, as one person stayed downstairs, moving everything into the lift, one person accompanied the items in the lift and moved them out onto the floor, and one person moved the items into the flat. Packing the boxes right is very important though, as one box of books fell apart completely as it arrived on the right floor and I had to shift items separately.

Sadly there was no time to put anything away, mostly because not all items were actually in the flat – we’re doing a final haul next weekend. We also had to take a trip to the nearby home improvement store for wall-plugs so we can mount our televisions on brackets on the wall.

The one thing I was adamant about setting up, so at least one part of the flat was ready for moving into, was our balcony furniture. Hopefully the weather will keep up long enough for us to enjoy a breakfast looking out onto the construction landscape around us!

A warm welcome

We finally exchanged (meaning all the money has been transferred not just from you to the conveyancer, but also from them to the property developers – only then do you receive your set of keys)! Contractually, financially, in reality we now own our own place.

While we haven’t moved in yet, we used this day to have a look if anything had changed since the first site visit. We were surprised to find a welcome gift from the property developers waiting for us!

While the flat is empty, it’s quite easy to find a home for everything – not pictured are a scented candle and a fluffy towel. We do reserve the right to change our minds on that count however! What we did spot was a crack in the washbasin board, and reported that the developer right away.


A window-shopping trip

After a first visit to our future home we had to start thinking about how we would furnish our home. Thankfully the Philosopher’s parents are incredibly kind and have offered a multitude of possessions to us to take on to our flat, but given the size and dimensions of the rooms, a three-seater sofa just won’t fit inside.

While we didn’t actually measure our flat (stupid mistake never to be made again, I hope), I traced the outline of the flat from the building brochure, and tried to make the square foot numbers coordinate in scale to the drawing. That gave us approximate numbers which to either meet, or aim for less.


The other problem is of course trying to get a concept from your head onto paper, if not into an actual room, and the more people are thinking about the same problem, the more confusing it gets. For the love of everything that is important to you, don’t be like us and forget the measuring tape or neglect to use it. It will make every decision that follows so much easier.

A site visit

The Philosopher and I are finally moving into our own place. This is the culmination of a consideration of more than a year, but I won’t bore you with the details, as the process was an arduous one:

  • Getting finances in order to be considered by a mortgage lender – only to get an agreement-in-principle;
  • Scouting property developers websites to see if they had any sites that were in commutable (and livable) distance from our respective workplaces – that also took part in the Help to Buy equity loan scheme; and finally
  • Getting the money together for a deposit.

Finally we did manage to find a place that ticked all the miscellaneous boxes we needed or wanted ticking, and we are settling down (for now) in Canning Town in our 1BR flat. Below are pictures from our very first site visit, approximately two weeks before completion.