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. Sunday, 27 May 2018 .

To say this month has been an absolute whirlwind is an understatement. Mum and I travelled to Manila for a family emergency and it's truly been one of the most stressful times. The whole of April was spent preparing for it - organising passports because we didn't have current ones, sorting out flights and accommodation because we don't really have a family home in the Philippines anymore or immediate family we can stay with, booking flights, working after hours and weekends because I don't have any leave left at work and being an adult with financial obligations mean that I can't afford unpaid time off. And because when it rains, it truly pours, it's been a very hectic period at work too. I had four major campaigns on the go, an event to organise, and basically shit to get done.

This weekend is the first weekend I've had to relax in over a month. Last weekend was basically a write off - worse jetlag I've ever experienced. We arrived back in New Zealand and within a few hours I was in the office because the hustle never stops.

It was a bit strange to be back. Surreal for the most part. It's been nine years since we moved to New Zealand from the Philippines, a country my dad and most of mum's family have called home for years. I moved here 2 days before my 18th birthday and have spent all of my adult years here. New Zealand is my home and has felt more home to me than Manila, if I'm honest. I was excited to go back, although I wished we were heading back under better circumstances. But still.

Up until the time we were boarding, I still couldn't believe we were actually going! Like I said, I've spent the past month in a daze - a blur of working, organising everything for the trip, and dealing with all the other crap. In fact, I was in the office until just after 4 pm because I had a presentation that morning and I really wanted to see that work through. I haven't even packed and our flight was that evening! So it all hit me as I buckled up on the plane. I started to get even more excited knowing that in 10 hours, I'd be seeing friends and family and eating all the delicious food I've missed.

It was a lot hotter than I expected. Like so hot it literally felt like hell on earth. And you know how much I despise summer, even more so when it's autumn in New Zealand and I was only just starting not to sweat so much and wear nice clothes again! But I was prepared - I packed linen shirts and brought no jackets.

We had a very tight schedule - 9 years worth of catching up squeezed into 10 days. Our days were spent running endless errands, hospital trips, and being stuck in traffic. There was a lovely pool on the 32nd floor of our hotel that I had been looking forward to using and I had a grand total of 15 minutes in it throughout the whole trip. Some of the food from my childhood that I was really looking forward to eating again wasn't as good as I remembered, and I was shocked at how much my palate has changed. Even though going into it I knew the trip wasn't going to be a holiday, goddamnit was it really not a holiday.

Nevertheless, it was still lovely to see family and friends. We caught up with so many people, it still amazes me how much we were able to squeeze in in such a short amount of time! We ate some damn great food, and I loved being able to eat rice meals for breakfast. I caught up with my best friends from High School, the truest friends in the world. It was so nice to see nothing has changed since. We even managed a few hours of shopping. My nana flew in to see me and we had sleepovers in the hotel with some family and friends.

My childhood best friend, Aldrin, was the one who picked us up from the airport and we spent a lot of time together. I haven't seen him for over 10 years and he's now a professional hair and make-up artist and I've been dreaming about working with him for years! We spent a day doing hair and make-up and it was so nice to go-live and collaborate on something.

Coming back home to New Zealand, my heart was full and my body was exhausted. I was so drained not just from the trip, from the heat, from all the stress of the trip but from the month before we left. I desperately need a holiday after that trip and hanging out for the long weekend ahead. There's no shame in admitting when you're not okay, when you need a break, and fill up your cup again. Until then I'm trying to get back into my routines, go to bed early and get the full amount of recommended sleep, eat regularly, and just be really kind to myself.

It's working so far. I've been cooking this weekend - something I've really missed doing. I made some turmeric milk too, and caught-up with more articles I was meant to be writing (I wrote this piece on how to beat the winter blues last week). I lit a new candle last night, one that was kindly gifted to me while I was away. I have new products to try that's arrived just after I came back too! I spent the day reading in bed too and caught up with some e-mails. I can't help it!

Right now I can smell the slow-cooked ribs I put on the crockpot. And while I'm dreaming of Friday afternoon when I finally get a proper break, I'm enjoying being back in the present. Hope you had a lovely Sunday, friends. Look after yourselves x

P.S. how pretty is Manila, though? Best enjoyed inside a hotel room with aircon blasting... Lol! But seriously. I couldn't get enough of the trees and skyscrapers in Makati, and already missing the views from our hotel home away from home.

. Friday, 18 May 2018 .
We were so close to the stars that night. Close enough to feel like they were just within reach, there to hold if only I just reach out my hand. We were in and out of the clouds, in a dreamy daze 40,000 feet above the ground. We marveled at how great it is to exist in this universe, to be here in this lifetime, in this body, in this life. How mesmerizing to get that close to the universe at night. I woke up to this view on our way home. Somewhere above water, the sky is pink, the stars are grand and the clouds rule sky. How lucky are we to exist and coexist with all this? Magic. Magic. Magic

. Friday, 13 April 2018 .

I honestly cannot believe that not only is it already April, but also Autumn! I can't even begin to tell you how many miserable Summer days I had wishing for the change in season to come around faster but now that it's happened... has it always been cold?! Several people at work have started wearing winter coats! In fact, I'm writing about the hottest winter coats coming our way soon for one of my favourite shopping malls so I'll be sure to link that once it's done. 

Is it just me or does it feel like we've been running around in circles, like headless chickens, just going around and around with no clear direction in mind? That's certainly how it feels like here. The past few months have been chaotic, especially March! I had a big event where I was key note speaking and travelled all the way to Hamilton for it. Then promptly realised I left ALL my notes in Auckland! Amateur hour, but also queen procrastinator just winged it! And it was the most fun I've ever had in my public speaking career so far. Anyway, the point is, is that life has been crazy busy and the next few weeks feel like they will be even more. What I need is a clearer plan of what I want to do this month. None of this aimless wanderings anymore.

I've set some big goals for myself earlier this year and to be quite honest feel like I've barely made a dent on achieving them! So thought today I'd talk about my monthly goals, purely for me to keep myself accountable. The procrastinator in me said I'd get serious about the things I want to do after Easter and the time has come!

But can we quickly talk about Easter and how absolutely nice it was to have family around (the Wellington fam and Brisbane fam flew over for 4 days of hanging out and eating. BLISS)!? Also this:

(can we just take a moment to appreciate these Easter-themed cocktails?! Dane and I went up to my fave Attica Bar after work before the break especially for these and they were delicious!)

Now back to goals... April feels like a reset and fresh start so I think I'm going to ease myself into it and start with just a few:

01. Stick to a writing schedule and write everyday - especially when I'm feeling uninspired or tired! Especially then. I've picked up a few more writing articles to do alongside my monthly columns for various places but I'd actually love to do more work on the web series and my novel.
02. Storyboard and develop pilot for the webseries - this includes casting, forming the rest of the crew, location scout, and timelines!
03. Get rid of stuff - my flat has so much stuff still, despite me getting rid of half of them already! So I want to do an audit of everything in my little flat - room, bathroom, studio - assess and give away things no longer serving me.

04. Routines. Routines. Routines - do them, especially my morning and evening ones!

05. Eat better - as in make my own meals, actually have breakfast in the morning, and keep drinking water!

Let's see how we go, shall we? I'll report back, don't worry. Wish me luck. I most definitely do need it x