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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging


I've been blogging for around a year and some months, and when I first started fleshing out ideas for this blog, there were certain things I just didn't know that I wish I did back then.

That being said, had I known then what I know now, I still would have started my blog! It's been an amazing way to get my thoughts out there while discovering some amazing people at the same time and I love that my life decided to take me in this direction. 

The first thing I wish I knew was how time consuming this whole thing would be. Back when I was living in England, I was on my gap year so I had all the time in the world. I only got to know how stressful it could get when I was busy that day and couldn't dedicate 100% of my time. Moving to Zambia, I had relatives to meet and places to see and this is when I was thrown in the deep end. Now I'm in uni, finding time to juggle everything is only possible by keeping myself organised.


If I manage to stay on top of everything, I'm able to breathe and not freak out but the amount of time it takes for writing, driving traffic to the blog, and other things is huge and I wish I had known that.

The next thing I wish I knew was how people you know in real life will be supportive about it! I was so scared to share this with people I knew in real life but once I shared it with a friend, I received such lovely feedback and I didn't know I would!

Now, my blog link is in all my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts and if anyone wants to have a look, they can! (Checking analytics, I can see that quite a few do, which just blows my mind). I've also had a few friends follow my blog Instagram and it's so heartwarming to get feedback and support from them. 

Had I known this, I would have told people much sooner!

Thirdly, I wish I knew that photography is something to work hard at, again and again.

The standard for blog photos has me stumped because I just can't seem to take aesthetic enough photos for posts. 

Now, I'm looking to improve my photography through Instagram, and this includes the type of photos and editing too. I take advantage of sunny days and free time to improve my photography.

I thought it'd be easy to snap a picture of anything and have it look good but that's not the case!


Another thing I wish I knew is how difficult and intimidating navigating through the blogging community is.

As a small blogger, attempting to talk to another blogger makes me so nervous and so many thoughts go through my head beforehand and I unfortunately talk myself out of it a lot of the time.

I've gotten better than I was before; I can shoot someone an Instagram DM or respond to their tweet without too much of a heart attack, but I definitely wish I was much better at it. It looked so easy from the outside looking in but now I'm in and I see how scary it is!

Finally, the last thing I wish I knew before I started blogging is that completion is better than perfection, and starting is better than nothing.

Sometimes I think about a post I've drafted so much I can talk myself out of publishing it. But, for something to improve, you have to first begin working on it otherwise it'll remain in that state you don't want it to be in anyway!

This fear of wanting everything to be perfect is something I'm working on because it can just leave you not growing and in the same position you were in weeks or months ago. 

We've all heard "perfection doesn't exist" a million times, but it's true! Just get on with that thing that you're afraid of ending up less than perfect, whether it's starting a YouTube channel, writing an essay, or cooking a meal you've been really wanting to.

Those are 5 things I wish I knew before I started blogging, and like I said, even if I knew them all before, I still would have started my blog 100%. 

What are some things you wish you knew before you started your blog?


My Personal Fashion Rules


I'm definitely not a fashion blogger, and I think I can just about manage to get myself looking put together on a daily basis. Even though fashion just isn't on my radar, I have some personal 'rules' that I follow when I'm putting together an outfit in the morning.

I say 'rules' because I don't think you should limit your fashion choices or or feel like you should wear what you're expected to. I'm not here to be some type of fashion police, which is why I'm sharing my personal rules!

Comfort Over Everything
I value my comfort much more than how I look, and that's why my 99% of the time, I'm in a pair of jeans and trainers and a top that fits the weather. I'm a student and living in a new country, so I'm usually running around either to class early in the morning, or wanting to explore the city. 

If what I'm wearing isn't comfortable, I will swap it for something that is, and when I'm shopping I keep this in mind too. 

Not to say that I don't wear something just for the aesthetic of it but those occasions are few and far between!

Subtle Accessories
When I want to take my basic outfit to level two, I add a few accessories. I prefer subtle jewellery and a simple watch but depending on how I feel, a necklace and the type of bag I'm carrying will change the look.

I love love love rings and I'm almost always wearing a few on my hands. Paired with a simple watch, I can have a pretty nice looking outfit overall (at least I think so anyway!).

Layer Up
Another thing I love doing is to layer up my clothing. In winter it's my absolute go-to because when I go from outside where it's cold to indoors where it's warm, I can just shed a few layers, and vice versa.

Opposites 
Finally, I like to wear opposites as in, if I'm wearing something baggy on top, I wear skinny jeans, or if I'm wearing a flowy skirt, I wear a more fitted top. It makes me look much more put together.

I just think wearing clothing that's both baggy or both tight doesn't look good on my 5' 2" self. I've seen some people rock flowy skirts and baggy jumpers and they make it work but for me, it just doesn't work!

As I said above, I'm definitely not a fashion person (hence why this is such a short post hehe) but I do have some steps I take to make myself look a little bit better.

What are your personal fashion rules?

I'll see you in the next one!


How To Save Money On Food With A Student Budget


I've just finished my first semester of university, and I'm about to head into my second, so I know a thing or two about budgeting and saving money, especially on food. It took me a while to get a budgeting system going where I can buy and cook healthy food, without being broke at the end of the month, and I want to share those tips with you today.

Eating healthy is something that is non-negotiable for me. It should definitely be cheaper, but unfortunately we live in a world where fast food is the cheapest and most convenient option. 

That doesn't stop me from trying my best to eat well, even with the added pressure of being a student. Before I moved to China, I watched videos that said it's super difficult to be healthy in China, that fruit is so expensive and that it's better to just have take away all the time. But since coming here I've found that it's not actually that difficult (for me, at least) and I can manage to balance pretty well.

I have a few tips that I use daily when it comes to buying food and still being happy with some money left in the bank. I hope you find them useful!

CREATE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
The first thing is to create a budget. I love Aja Dang's YouTube channel because to me, she's like the budgeting guru I've always needed. She creates videos where she outlines her monthly budget, videos that show what she's spending her money on weekly, and tips on how to stick to a budget. Her driving force is that she's aiming to pay off all her student loans, so she's definitely a channel to watch (I was definitely inspired by her to create this post!).

My budget is pretty simple; I look at how much money is going in versus going out and I see what I can cut out so I can have as much as possible. Then, I allocate different amounts of money to different expenses, such as groceries or school equipment, and I only use that amount of money per week on that specific expense.

My budget is weekly, but this can definitely work monthly too. If you allocate money to buying food that's good for you and not to just anything you can get your hands on, then you're more likely to spend money on just that.

Because I know myself, I also have a certain amount of money each week I can spend on junk food, and I am not allowed to go over that no matter what. This makes it easy to have money left at the end of the week to save!

BUY FROM THE MARKET
I buy my vegetables exclusively from the market, and it's a 10 minute walk from the dorm building, which is great! It's so much cheaper to buy from the market compared to a supermarket, so this is definitely something to try if you can.

A definite bonus is that the more I go, the more familiar they become with me and I can haggle cheaper prices!

GO MEAT-FREE
When I cook, I often choose to buy tofu as my protein for the week instead of meat, and it's so. much. cheaper! I can buy tofu for less than ¥3 (less than 40p!!!) and it lasts the whole week. This is compared to chicken which I buy for around ¥10 for a week, or beef (which I only just bought a couple of weeks ago for the first time since coming here), for around ¥20. 

Going meat-free has other benefits too, but the benefit for your pocket is pretty great!

DON'T BUY IMPORTED
Something that I cannot stress enough, especially when you live in East Asian countries, is to not buy imported food, or at least limit the amount of imported goods you buy! They are always going to be more expensive than locally produced food, for example my coconut milk. It's not something I can avoid because I'm lactose intolerant so this is something I add into my budget. My milk comes from Thailand and I haven't been able to find Chinese-brand coconut milk unfortunately.

Some things like Heinz ketchup, or Lays (or Walker's if you're from the UK!) aren't expensive at all, so there's no problem there, but if you can, definitely buy goods from the country you're in!


SHOP ONLINE
Something I love about China is how easy it is to buy whatever you want online.


I buy my sweet potatoes online (the market doesn't have the white ones which I prefer) and they come fresh and they're just as good as buying at the market. I've also seen teas, snacks, meat, breads and other types of food online and it's usually cheaper then buying in-store.

MEAL PREP
Meal prep saves so much money and time, and it's something I know all students have tried at least once before.

I cook once or twice a week, and keep the food in tupperware in the fridge. When I want to eat, I just warm it up and I'm good to go! My favorite things to meal prep are my tofu and broccoli, or any kind of chicken dish as my main meal, along with rice that I also cook for the week. I'll chop vegetables once and keep them in tupperware too and cook them when I'm ready to eat, just because mushy veg isn't very appetising.

Meal prep has changed the game and I strongly advise you to give it a go if you can.

If the thought of eating food you've cooked a few days ago doesn't sound good, then you can prep ingredients too, and cook them when you're ready to eat!

KNOW WHEN THE SALES ARE
Something I look forward to are the sales in Walmart, because it's when I can stock up on staples like rice, oil, meat or snacks. 

If you have sales going on in the supermarkets near you, definitely take advantage of it and buy buy buy and save some money! 

Things I won't eat right away get frozen and that way I just have to defrost and get cooking. One thing I love about China is that things on offer also come with additional goodies, like one 4L bottle of oil can come with a smaller one attached to it, or bottles of drinks come with things like bowls or cutlery. I've even seen toothpaste come with a bowl! 

So, the next time there's a sale near you, take your shopping bags and stock up!

So, those are my tips for how I save money on food, manage to eat healthy, and remain happy and sane at the same time! This is probably a really long blog post, but I had so much to cover and I didn't want to miss anything.

I hope this was helpful for anyone looking to get smarter with food and money, and if you have any other tips, I'd love to hear them below!

I'll see you in the next one!


6 Tips For Creating Content


When I first started my blog, one thing I was definitely afraid of was whether or not I'd be able to keep coming up with content. I was afraid I'd eventually run out of ideas and have to call it quits, but somehow, I've managed to keep coming up with post ideas after all this time (it's been over a year already!).

Sometimes it does seem like I have nothing to post on the blog, but with these sources, I'm always able to have an idea I can flesh out and get up on the blog before long. I hope you enjoy the post!

PINTEREST
Pinterest is the home of creative ideas, and it's perfect for blog posts too. If I'm feeling stuck, I go through my boards and have a look through what I've been pinning lately and get some inspiration from there.

The key word here is inspiration. I don't believe in outright copying content someone else has spent time working on and passing it off as an original idea. I just get a feel of the content and get inspired by it, instead of just copying it outright. Whenever I get inspired by someone else's idea, I always mention it within my own blog post!

Anyway, I go through my boards and get an idea of what I can write about and if that doesn't work, I move onto the next step!

READ OTHER BLOGS
Reading someone else's content is another way I get blog post ideas, and again, this is about being inspired to write, not practically hitting copy and paste.

I love using Bloglovin' to read blog posts, and I always come across interesting posts on Twitter too. Once I've read the post, I always make sure to leave a nice comment telling the blogger I appreciate it.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Using YouTube is also similar to reading blogs, and I love it. I've got a post coming soon about budgeting and saving money on food as a student, which was inspired by Aja Dang's video on how to be healthy on a budget. As you can see there's definitely some inspiration taken from her.

Since I'm on YouTube a lot of the time, I always come across video titles that inspire me to write something, so if you haven't used YouTube to get blog post ideas, give it a shot!


CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS
A lot of the blog posts I've written (and are writing) come from conversations I've had in real life, such as Finding Joy in The Small Things, 5 Signs You Need A Social Media Detox, and How To Achieve Your New Year's Goals.

Listening intently to what people are saying is such a dose of inspiration, and when someone sees me whip out my phone to write down what they're saying, they know a blog post is coming (lol). 

LATE NIGHT IDEAS
I know I'm not the only person who goes through this: you're laying in bed, and you're on the verge of sleep when a blog post idea just comes completely out of nowhere!

I love it when this happens, and I just have to get my phone out to write the idea down before it's gone forever. I don't know how to explain this but, if it is something that happens to you, then make sure you write those ideas down too!

I also feel like I get inspired by my daily life and what's going on right now. My post on culture shock came when I was on the subway and I was thinking about how different life is in China compared to the UK. Just being open to what life is showing you is inspiration enough.

COMING UP WITH TITLES FIRST
Finally, I also try coming up with the title of a blog post first, then see if it's something I can work with.

For example, my for my posts beginning with "How To..." I think of different scenarios and see if it's something I can write about, like my How I Practise Mindfulness post. This is a creative idea for getting a post written!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any other ways you get blog post ideas, leave them down below!

I'll see you in the next one!

Photos: Unsplash


3 Days In Wuhan

Last week, I took the train up to Wuhan in Hubei province to visit my cousins. I had the absolute best time and the only thing I regret is that I didn't stay long enough!

I travelled during the Lunar New Year period (aka Chinese New Year), so a lot of the restaurants and stores were closed. Not many people were walking around as normal, but we still managed to venture out and eat!

I have some photos of the restaurants we visited and they're not really the best but I loved the trip so much, I want to share them here too.

The first place we visited when my train arrived was a Japanese curry house called CoCo (老番屋).


I went with the traditional Chicken Katsu Curry, which was so amazing and flavorful.

For the table, we got two small sharing platters with potato wedges, fried chicken, and deep-fried octopus.



Also on the menu was Beef Omurice (stewed beef curry with rice and a fluffy omelette on top), and beef and vegetable curry. Any type of curry you can think of was there!

That evening we then ventured out to another restaurant called Beer Barn.

We got pepperoni pizza, chicken quesedillas, and the juiciest cheeseburger I've ever had.

They also had cocktails, cold drinks, and teas to go around!




This was definitely our favorite place during the whole trip; the vibe of the place was great and the food was the icing on the already amazing cake. We went there every night for dinner!

When in a foreign country and you don't know what to eat, your safest bet is to find the nearest McDonald's, which is what we did!

I decided to try the chicken rice bowl after hearing so much about it, and it did not disappoint!


It's served with rice at the bottom, followed by lettuce, then chicken, then drizzled in mushroom sauce. It was perfection!

On my final night, we went to Show Coffee and Tea (秀玉红茶坊 (汉街店)), which, unlike the name suggests, did not just serve coffee and tea.



I initially had my heart set on the Thai Basil Rice that would come on a sizzling stone plate, but the whole selection of Thai food was unavailable!

I went with the Japanese Beef Rice, and I quickly forgot about what I previously wanted.

For the table, we got a spicy Mexican beef pizza, fries, spring rolls, and mini chicken wraps, along with two jugs of lemon ice tea, and orange ice tea.

Also ordered were steaks, which came with spaghetti, a fried egg, a baked potato, swimming in gravy, all served on a sizzling stone plate.





Probably the best meal I've had in a long long time!

Being in Wuhan was so much fun and I definitely want to venture out and travel a whole lot more this year.

I hope you enjoyed this post, it's very different from my usual, but I loved looking back on this day!

I'll see you in the next one!

Top Apps You'll Need To Survive In China



China is known for having an app for just about anything you can think of. Do you want someone to stand in line for you for a product you've been waiting for? There's an app for that! However if you're coming to China for the first time, then these apps I'm going to show you are the absolute essentials. You'll need to download them before coming here so your stay will run much smoother.

Some of them I'm sure you'll have heard of, but I'm going to explain how they work and how you can use them!

VPN
Undoubtedly the most important app you will download is a VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network, and it changes your IP address to one in a different country so you can access blocked sites. If it sounds illegal, it is, but it's known by the government and all foreigners use them, whether they come for school, work, or travel.

In China, apps and websites like the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even WhatsApp are blocked. If you try to connect to any of them, your page will just keep loading for years. However, if you connect to your VPN, you can browse anything that you did back home! It's easy enough but sometimes a pain in the behind!

You can get free VPN's or paid ones. I prefer free ones for now, and I use Turbo VPN and Psiphon Pro. The best paid one I have seen is Express VPN. One thing to note is that sometimes, around Chinese holidays or even just random days, the VPN connection will be so poor for a while. It passes but when it's there, it's super annoying!

Make sure you download this before you come, because it's going to be really hard to get one once you cross over into China!

WeChat (微信)
The next most important app is obviously WeChat. Think of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp all rolled into one. On top of that, imagine being able to buy plane tickets, order food, and pay for things in the shops all within the same app! I hope every single day that other countries begin using WeChat too because it makes life so much more convenient.

WeChat is how everyone communicates here (the WhatsApp element) and how they share what's going on in their lives (the social media element). If you set up your bank details to it too, you'll be able to pay for anything, either in the shops, a restaurant, or online. 

I use it to talk to my friends, ask my teachers questions if I have any, order food, check train tickets, and buy everything I need (and I mean everything, I don't carry cash anymore!). It has so many other features I don't use, like booking taxi's and paying bills but the fact that it's there is pretty amazing! I only wish there was a weather feature to be honest!

Definitely one to download if you're staying long-term! You'll absolutely need it to contact anyone you need!


Pleco
The next most important app for those still learning Chinese like me is Pleco. Pleco is a dictionary that has translations for 99% of things you'll want to translate, either from Chinese to English, or vise versa.

You can draw the character out, search it up, and speak the word too. It's been so useful; if I don't know what to say or how, I type it up and show it to someone who can help!  

There are also options for you to create and save flashcards, which is super useful if you're learning the language! 

On a similar vein, Google Translate is also a great one to download if you want to translate small phrases too! Surprisingly, this one works without VPN!

Baidu (百度)
Baidu is what I'd say is the equivalent to Google. It can do anything Google can do, but what I use it for is translating screenshots on my phone.

I wouldn't say it's a necessity but I find it super useful for when I'm looking at something online and nothing is making sense. It's also great if my VPN connection is terrible that day.

A currency converter app
This one is self explanatory, if you want to convert prices, get a currency converter app! 

All of them work the same if you ask me so it doesn't really matter which one you choose. I like to convert currencies so I know how much money I'll be getting in Chinese Yuan. It's also nice to see how things compare back home!


Amap
My favorite map is definitely Amap. Google maps only works if you're connected with your VPN and none of the addresses are in Chinese.

It's best to download a Chinese map app because everything in real life will be in Chinese anyway. The app also gives me weather updates so I know if it's going to rain this week or not which is pretty cool!

Taobao (淘宝) or Pinduoduo (拼多多) 
Online shopping is a huge market in China and the most popular company is definitely Taobao. Think of eBay and Amazon combined. You can get anything and everything on there and their selection is huge. 

You can buy Chinese products, western products, fresh fruit and veg, electronics, just everything you need!

Pinduoduo is another popular shopping app and I prefer it to Taobao only because I can directly access it from WeChat and it's cheaper too. 

A few times a year all shopping apps have massive sales and I've been able to get some real bargains! I once bought a clothes rack for 15 yuan, approximately £1.60 and a handbag for 11 yuan, around £1.20! The quality is so good too. I know people have fears that the quality of these products won't be good, but I personally have never had that problem.

So those are the absolute essential apps I think you need if you're coming to China. Other people's lists may have different things, but for me and my daily life, I use these the most and they're brilliant!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I'll see you in the next one!


Keeping Myself Organised At Uni


Being organised is something I'm really good at. Since the days of GCSE exams, I've just had to be on top of it. Sometimes it gets difficult juggling everything together, and sooner or later (at least for me) something has to give, whether it's my sleep or social life. But, I do still stand by the statement that I am an organised person and I'm pretty proud about it!

Being at university means I am organised in a different way compared to the way I was previously and being a language student on top of that means there's a whole new system of doing things. I've got 4 main ways I keep myself together and I wanna share them with you! 

GOOGLE CALENDAR
I have been using Google Cal for years now and it's what I prefer when it comes to calendars. Having a digital calendar means I can add things, take things out and swap them around without scribbling anywhere and having it look messy - it's just easier and I can take it anywhere.

I colour code everything depending on what it is, and I add everything to my calendar. I schedule in my classes, my school breaks, when a blog post is going up, when my rent is due, people's birthdays, school events, any travelling I plan on doing, and appointments. Having everything colour coded first of all looks really pretty, but it's also a good visual tool to see when something is happening.

I add absolutely everything in there so I can be accountable and informed about anything going on. It also makes it really hard to forget things!


BULLET JOURNAL
In addition to my Cal, I also use my bullet journal (see post here!). I have to admit, the excitement of having a bullet journal wore off after some time and now I just use it for my daily to-do lists.


I don't add in habit trackers or any of those fancy spreads because right now I simply don't need them. The general rule of thumb is to only add spreads you'll actually need and use, and I don't need or use any of them!

In addition to my daily to-do lists, the only spreads I do add are my semester at a glance, where I put in all the events of the current semester, and my daily class schedule. Other than that, it's pretty basic and minimal.

For all things relating to school, I use one notebook during class and one after.


In class, I write notes on what my teacher is talking about. We have one topic per lesson and we learn approximately 20 new words per lesson, so I just make rough notes in my class notebook. These notes are a mess of English and Chinese so I try not to be too fancy with it and write as I like.

I don't use any note-taking systems like I did in sixth form because it's only language and I can retain information this way.

After class, I have another notebook where I re-write my notes. I write 99% of these notes in Chinese because it helps me learn and I now know the Chinese meaning from class earlier that day. This is where I add highlighter and coloured pens to make the information stand out and also to look a bit more pretty!

That's pretty much how I stay organised at university! It's not complicated at all and it keeps me from forgetting crucial info!

How do you keep yourself organised?

Stir Fried Tofu & Broccoli | Recipe


I love any dish that's quick and easy, and I'm sure you guys all know that too based on my previous recipes. This one is so simple and was done in under 30 minutes, and I'm so happy with how it turned out!

Tofu is a big part of my diet now and because it's cheap and available everywhere, I'm able to eat it as much as I want! 

This recipe can include any vegetables you'd like, I just used what looked good at the market that day and it happened to be broccoli and bok choy. 

Now, I didn't use any measurements, I did this all by eye so I'll give rough estimates of what I used!

You'll need:
2.5 cup cooked tofu
1 cup broccoli
1 head of bok choy
2 cloves of garlic
1 green chili
1tbsp oyster sauce
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp ketchup
Salt
Black pepper

Now onto the recipe!

First of all, if you can't find pre-cooked tofu, then half a block is fine. Over here, tofu is sold pre-fried so that's just what I get. If you're using the block, then first squeeze as much water out by putting a weight on top of it, like a can of beans, for 30 minutes.

Chop it into cubes and coat in some corn flour to get it crispy once you fry. Frying it is so simple, just heat a bit of oil in a pan and place your tofu pieces in there and cook until they're brown on all sides. Then drain them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil and set aside.

Now, boil your broccoli and bok choy for around 3 minutes, just until the broccoli is cooked through but still crunchy. Drain out any excess water and begin frying in a bit of oil with your chopped garlic and chili. If you don't like spice, then you can leave it out!

Fry for 2 minutes, then add your soy sauce, oyster sauce and ketchup and mix together. Add in your cooked tofu and a splash of water to make it a bit more soupy. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.

Mix everything together about a minute and then you're done! You can add more water if you don't want it too dry, or you can leave it the way it is. I've seen some recipes that call for sugar, honey or syrup, but I think ketchup adds that sweetness just fine too!

Serve it with rice and you've got yourself a meal!

I'll see you in the next one!


What I've Been Listening To Lately


I've been walking around with my earphones a lot more in recent days. Everything I do requires either background music or a podcast to make the mundane a little less so, so I wanted to share what I've been enjoying recently.

ARIANA GRANDE
Ariana has always been known to me as an amazing singer but I didn't listen to her myself until Sweetener dropped, and I just haven't stopped listening to it. The album is everything I love; RnB, mellow yet still upbeat, and paired with her vocals, it's the perfect album.

I've also been enjoying Dangerous Woman (undoubtedly her best album!) and her recent single 7 rings. I'm seriously looking forward to her new album! Now that I've listened to her music, I'm wondering why I didn't this whole time!

iKON
iKON are a south Korean boy group and they have a mix of great vocalists and even better rappers. Their album Return from last year is still one of my favourites and I still listen to it almost weekly.

Their latest single "I'm OK" prompted me to delve deeper into all of their music, and I love it all! When an artist has albums with not one song I want to skip, I love them even more and iKON certainly have that factor.

HEBE TIEN
Hebe is a Chinese singer who has albums upon albums that I have not yet dived into. There's just too many! 

I love her songs Day by Day and Learning From Drunk, and I recently listened to her album My Love, and the title track is so reminiscent of 2000 British pop music for some reason. Listening to Chinese artists is helping me bit by bit with learning more words and it's a fun way to learn the language too!


EXCITING EMAILS
I get Vix's Exciting Emails newsletters in my inbox and when she decided to drop a podcast I was all for it! I love learning more about blogging and how I can take it to the next level and learning more of her story is so inspiring.

THE ACCIDENTAL CREATIVE
This podcast by Todd Henry is really inspiring and motivating and all of that good stuff. I really learn something new each episode that I try to use in my daily life.

Seriously one to listen to if you need a hit of inspiration!

ELEVATION CHURCH
I watched a ToThe9s Q&A on a whim; I've heard of their channel but never really watched them but for some reason I was just drawn to watch this video. I'm so glad I did, because they mentioned this podcast and now I can't stop listening to it myself!

I've listened to a few sermons now and they're so positive and uplifting, I download them and listen when I'm cleaning or out for a walk. I really feel like this came into my life at the perfect time.

AT HOME WITH...
Started by two of my favourite bloggers Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton, I distinctly remember fist bumping the air when I read that they were starting a podcast together.

I fell off listening to it for a while, but catching up with all the episodes I've missed has been so much fun! I especially love the episodes with Clemmie Hooper and Patricia Bright.

What have you been listening to lately?

Photo: Unsplash

Experiencing Cultural Shock In China



Living in a country halfway across the world is definitely going to bring some cultural differences. Some are good, some are bad, and all of them are certainly interesting.

I've lived in China for 5 months now, and as soon as I stepped off the plane, there were some differences I noticed that were so different to both Zambia and the UK. As the months have gone on, I've noticed how so many things are different over here compared to anywhere else, and I want to share them with you!

The first thing I've noticed is that phones are absolutely everywhere and it's impossible to escape. Over in England, there's a whole thing with young people being on their phones too much but over here, everyone is doing it, from teenagers to grandparents.

It's so strange entering a bus or the subway and seeing everyone (not exaggerating) with their heads bent down scrolling on their phones. It's makes me think about how different our cultures are and what counts as acceptable too.

The next thing is that if you're visibly foreign, you're gonna get stared at A LOT, and have your photo taken for good measure. I've only ever been intensely stated at in some areas of the UK, but this is a whole new level. Imagine walking outside and having everyone stop what they're doing, start pointing, whispering, and whipping their phones out to start recording you. It's so overwhelming!

Usually it doesn't bother me; I can go through the day and it won't phase me but when I'm upset about something or not in the best of moods it bothers me a lot. If you're ever in China, be prepared for that.


Another thing is that queue jumping is totally normal here. For someone who grew up in the UK, having someone push in front of me in the queue lowkey ticks me off, but here it's a totally normal thing. Don't be surprised when you suddenly end up at the back of the queue when you were so close to the front, or if people physically push you out of the way, especially older people. That's just how the culture is here and no matter how annoying it is, I've learned to adapt and jump back in place!

Having no cold water is another thing different about China. People here prefer drinking warmer water, even in summer because it's healthier for you, so when you go into a restaurant whether it's Chinese or western, you'll be served with a glass of warm water when you're seated. I love warm water so it doesn't bother me one bit, but it's so different from what I'm used to. Waiters even come round to your table and refill your glass with warm water when you're done! Some restaurants even have stations where you can add fruits or herbs to your water for extra benefits, like chrysanthemum, goji berries and cloves.

One thing I have noticed about Chinese girls is that they're always dressed to impress, especially in summer. Their outfits are so pristine and lovely and it's so weird because in the UK if you dressed up, people would ask you why you're dressed up, but here no one questions it. From teenagers to young adults, to mums dressing their children (even some grandmas) the ladies here always look so photoshoot ready it's easy to feel underdressed, especially if you're a fan of jeans and t-shirts like me!

The last thing I'll talk about is how smoking and spitting here are so commonplace. Now, I was raised where you had to go in designed areas to smoke, but here, anyone can smoke anywhere; in the car, in a restaurant, in any part of a building. Smoking is a nasty habit and I really do not like this part of living in China, but it's just what happens.

Spitting is also very common, but only amongst older people. And it's not normal light spitting you sometimes see at home, this one comes from somewhere deep down in the gut. The sound alone is awful and it makes me shudder whenever I hear it to be honest.


Those are some cultural things I've seen here in my almost 6 months in China (how crazy is that!) Some of these are really negative, but it's the reality and there's no point in forcibly being positive all the time.

One thing I'll say about moving to a country with a different culture is if you accept things as the way they are, instead of constantly comparing to the way life is back home, you'll be much happier. Yes, some things aren't perfect but you will not survive if all you do is complain about your new life. I've learned that the best course of action is to just observe and understand that this is the way of life here.

It's doesn't do you any good to always err on the side of negativity!

I hope you enjoyed this post! There are a few more I can think of, but I don't want this post to be too long and I think this is good for now. Please down below tell me of any cultural differences you've come across while travelling!

I'll see you in the next one!