20 Things To Do On A Rainy Day In Auckland

cf56edfba10fc338bdb7e26beba971c8.jpgOn a rainy day during rush hour, you may see an ocean of umbrellas in the city. Auckland is the place where four seasons in a day is the norm, and carrying a small umbrella, jacket or raincoat in your bag may become a habit. The clouds definitely move by fast in this city! One moment it could be a beautiful sunny blue sky day, and another it could pour down with a cool shower, and another moment the weather is warm and muggy. Some of the best days are definitely the ones where the skies are blue with a few white clouds in the sky.

1. Visit your favourite coffee shop. Parnell has some lovely cafes along Parnell Road. 

2. Go thrift shopping at shops like Tatty’s, Recycle Boutique, Paper Bag Princess.

3. Watch a movie at the cinema. Kill a few hours at the movies with your favourite snack. 

4. Sit at the Library and read your favourite book or discover a new book. 

5. Cook a warm delicious meal. Then sit on the couch in your blankets to enjoy your meal!

6. Visit the Auckland Art Gallery. There’s something peaceful about watching art on a rainy day.

7. Order a Pizza and watch your favourite tv show or movie with your friends. 

8. Satisfy your sweet cravings at the Chocolate Boutique with a hot chocolate and dessert. 

9. Sit by the fireplace (if you have one) and warm up your feet with your cat. 

10. Go on a clean frenzy. Wash your sheets, wash your clothes, clean your bathroom, declutter your room. 

11. Have a bath/shower. It’s such a great feeling getting out of your damp socks and having a shower after a rainy day outside. 

12. Spend the afternoon at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. 

13. Watch a show, performance or concert at the Civic Theatre, Aotea Centre or Town Hall. 

14. Grab a friend or take the family to ten pin bowling. 

15. Spend the day at home to just relax and do the art of nothing. 

16. Eat lunch out for a good catch up or bring your favourite book. 

17. People watch. If you’re in the city, there’s something amusing about people watching. 

18. Take a bus ride to somewhere new to a nearby suburb in Auckland. 

19. Browse in an old bookstore, and get lost amongst the books.

20. Play a board game. Monopoly, card games, charades!

Art by Chris Turnham

Online And Offline Privacy In Relationships

84d871b3660ba1a997d2c2f0af156252.jpgThere’s often that mindset when we don’t hear or see about something, that if you didn’t post it, then it didn’t happen. Which seems silly, as, before the time of Facebook, life was simpler in that sense. No one needed to know what you ate on Friday afternoon after work or where you were on Christmas day or the holiday in Greece when you were swimming in the ocean. I feel that there’s such a huge importance in maintaining privacy in relationships. There’s a certain line for what you decide to post online or share offline, which goes for anything.

If you post too many photos with your partner, is it truly for yourselves, or is it simply to show others? I always find that there’s a line you need to draw when it comes to posting about your personal life, especially when it comes to relationships. Similarly to the way that it wouldn’t be safe to constantly post photos of your children online, it’s not healthy to constantly post photos of your other half. Privacy is such a treasure especially in a day and age where privacy is now a luxury.

Spending time with someone means being present, and less time using a phone on a date. Being with someone means that you don’t need to have validation online on Social media or offline in person with other people. It means that you are both content and happy with who you are as individuals.  A relationship that lives online is not realistic because it doesn’t show the reality of relationships. You may have heard of the term ‘goals’, and truth be told, there is no relationship that is perfect.

No one can strive for someone else’s relationship because each one is different and special to their own. Love cannot be defined by an image. Online privacy means not having or feeling the need to share everything or too much to everyone else. It means leaving your personal life personal and only sharing a small snapshot of what you want. It means leaving the intimate moments for offline and not needing to let everyone know where you went, what you ate, what you bought, what you received or how you’re doing.

Oversharing is not healthy and can be detrimental to any relationship. Mr Penguin and I like to go for long walks and are not fond of oversharing online because it feels as if it’s not needed. There are moments we want to keep between ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with sharing, but everything requires balance. This also includes sharing about your career, life, travel, holidays and relationships. Privacy is respecting you and others. It’s not seeking any validation, but enjoying those moments for yourself. Living in the moment and being truly present is the most important thing when we’re living in our everyday life.

Art by Yelena Bryksenkova

Don’t Waste Time With People Who Bring You Down

41d61567ace5eace116deb3d2ca93eb8.jpgWhen I met Mr Penguin, it was one of the first times I felt truly close to a friend in many ways. There are only a few people in my life that I consider close to me, as I’m someone who is content with just having 1-3 friends.  As someone that spends a lot of time in my own company, I really value the quality of friendship, rather than quantity. There is a desire to get to know someone if I know that it’s going to be something long term, meaningful and deeper than just knowing them. Over the years, I’m better at distancing myself with those I don’t feel are a positive light in my life.

It’s very important to surround yourself with people who are there to support you, be honest with you and raise you up. They don’t judge you but they’re there for you when you need it most. From experience, having a friend in your life that only complains, talks about their own life and aren’t very kind is extremely damaging to your mind. No one can be positive all the time, but those who are negative all the time can really affect one’s peaceful state. There’s truth in that we can’t please everybody, or be friends with everybody. Which is why, if someone you don’t really know says something unkind to you, don’t waste time caring about it.

People who truly care for you don’t need to see or even talk to you every day. But, when you go through a particularly good or bad period in your life, they make an effort to be there. Making friends with someone who is emotionally draining is not healthy. The sort of people from my experience is those that constantly gossip and talk about others. It’s exhausting to listen to and incredibly negative. The people you surround yourself with can influence you even if it’s in a minor way. We all give off energy. Surround yourself with positive energy, and you will feel far happier in your life. Make friends with people who want the best for you.

Art by Mirdinara

The Benefits Of Being Friends Before Dating

198f6678df2bfa6cb420d02293378f42.jpgThe process of becoming friends makes me think of old school romance. It’s slow and steady, rather than dating now, which has become more fast-paced with technology and social media. Friendship is a time where you learn about one another, see each other’s silly sides, comfort one another when you’re upset and ask questions to get to know each other. There isn’t the romantic aspect in it, and it feels natural and steady. There are many benefits of being friends before you start dating.

You get to see a different side of them. Sure, they’re still the same person, but being friends first allows you to see how they handle certain situations and how they treat you when you’re just friends.

The focus isn’t on any romantic aspect. You learn their story and when you’re just friends there’s this certain kind of humour that doesn’t pass a line. You grow a level of respect towards one another, in knowing not to do anything that would make one another uncomfortable.

Some people grow more attractive over time. Of course, Mr Penguin has always been attractive to me, but when you’re friends you don’t obsess over their appearances too much. Once you do start dating, you see their beautiful characteristics shining out more and more.

He knows what makes you happy and sad. When you’re good friends first, the person already knows a lot of things about you. You know one another’s stories, memories and views towards certain things.

There is already an element of trust created. Talking, sharing things and spending time hanging out means you already have a level of trust with the friend. Once you start dating, that trust can grow stronger and stronger.

You have a similar sense of humour. I find that there’s this pressure when dating, that sometimes causes some people to not be completely themselves at first. That’s not always the case, but generally speaking. However, when you’re friends first, you can joke about the silliest things.

Taking the time to truly get to know someone. Friendship takes time, and sometimes going straight into dating can seem more fast paced. Although, there’s nothing wrong if it’s the right time, but sometimes dating is about timing.

There is already an attraction there. No matter who we’re friends with, we’re friends with them because there’s something we’re attracted to about them. We’re friends with someone because we like them.

Communication comes more naturally. Communication is definitely something that gets better and better over time. When you’re first friends with someone, you’re more direct and honest right from the beginning, compared to if you started first dating someone.

Art by Naomi Wilkinson

A Conversation On The Puppy Love Stage

6187e59597399.560d68d1e9f48.jpgA period of time where you feel a strong sense of infatuation is called the puppy love stage. It starts in the beginning of a new relationship and can make you feel on top of the world. It makes you feel that nothing could go wrong and everything is perfect. You only see the good in your partner, and you yourself is also weary of not showing your own flaws straight away. As they say, it’s when the puppy love stage ends, that’s when the true relationship starts. That’s when the realisation that no one is perfect, and both people need to compromise.

Remember that feeling of butterflies you get at the beginning of a relationship? Every time you saw the person, your heart beats a little faster and you don’t see anything wrong with the person. The reality is that this stage is short lived. It’s a wonderful period of time that we look back at sweetly, but it usually lasts for a year. Love isn’t perfect, and everyone has their own flaws. It’s the ability and willingness to work through the hard times and enjoy the good times together that make it all worth it. It’s normal to argue when you disagree or have your alone time.

Just as we try to make a good first impression, it’s the same in the beginning of any relationship. We want to present our best selves to the person. However, no one is able to act this way for long, until we discover a person’s habits, attitudes, views and perspectives towards different things. Perhaps we might find out that they’re a messy person or that they don’t like doing the bed.

There’s  a misconception that a relationship should feel like puppy love all the time. There’s this fairy tale world that we are given through movies, books and music. Many people feel if a relationship ended then it wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes that may be the case. However, a relationship is both sides wanting and willing to change, grow and learn. It’s when you’ve seen each other at your best and worst, but still, love one another, and am willing to work through the good and bad.

Even though I mention that the puppy love stage passes, that doesn’t mean that after many years with your other half you lose the feelings of butterflies. It simply means that you’ve both gone beyond the introduction, and know each other in depth. You’ve been through more experiences and lessons together. The reason why it’s normal to argue and have disagreements is because they test whether we want to fight for the relationship to make it work. It means loving them more and more each day.

There are many that are together for a long time, and can still look at one another the way they do when they had puppy love. In a way, we start to not have to show it outwardly as much. It’s something that’s felt within and in private moments. I remember in the beginning of my relationship, we took heaps of photos together and would post them on social media. After that year, we took less pictures. There’s something about puppy love that people can feel. Picture a new couple holding hands, smiling, blushing and laughing awkwardly and sweetly.

Art by Oamul

Love Is Looking Beyond The Surface

d600679597399.560d68d3d6c1b.jpgWhen we just meet someone, naturally our first impression is a visual one. We notice the way they smile, their eyes, how they hold themselves or what they’re wearing. It’s normal to notice these things first, before really getting to know someone. Sometimes first impressions can be accurate, and sometimes they’re not. Most often, it’s when we really take the time to get to know someone, then we truly see who they are as a person. You may have heard how you might have a first impression of someone as attractive, but perhaps after you get to know them, you realise that they are an unkind person with a bad attitude, and they start looking more unattractive.

You may have met someone beautiful, and they do indeed have a beautiful heart. Someone you may have met, without thinking about their physicalities so much, but the more you get to know them, the more you see their beauty inside and out. Everyone is different, and we’re all attracted to different aspects of a person. In a superficial world, where we hear news about celebrities who marry, and then divorce, doesn’t that instantly prove that love is beyond looks? These are certain actors that we may view as handsome, and actresses we view as beautiful. But, at the end of the day, they’re just another human.

Love is powerful because it reminds us to look at someone with our heart instead of our eyes. It shines every good and bad of someone and makes us attracted to one’s personality in the long term. An interesting thing is when I got to know Mr Penguin, I always found him handsome. However, over the years I see him as a really kind hearted person who is more and more beautiful as each day goes by. Those are the aspects that are invisible because they’re not instantly visible. They take the time to realise and see. That’s why when people say don’t judge others, they really mean it.

Love isn’t making your life seem perfect online (or offline). It’s those quiet gestures, special moments and wonderful experiences you have. It’s the ability to grow together and let go of the bad and invite the good. Imagine if you had a baby one day, you would never hold your baby and judge him or her for their appearances. That love is the kind that instantly sees how beautiful and pure your baby is. How much you want him or her to grow up to be healthy, kind and good.

Art by Oamul

What Does Happiness Mean To You?

4.gifHappiness is one of those things that make us forget all our worries. It fills us up like a cup of warm hot chocolate on a cold Winter’s night (don’t forget the toasty socks!). It makes me think of a dog wagging its tail, the sound of a child laughing and a beautiful day lying on the beach, staring at the blue sky. If I asked what happiness means to you, what would you say? It’s almost the kind of answer that we can’t fully explain in words because it’s something so deeply and wonderfully felt.

Similar to asking what does love mean to you, it’s often felt in a way that even if we describe it, it can’t quite fully express our complete feeling of it. Although, if I think in the most simplistic ways to express what happiness means to me. These would be a few snapshots of what it is. Please feel free to let me know, what are some things or something that makes you happy? Happiness is lying in bed in the morning, and the cat comes and lies on your stomach purring. It’s talking and laughing with your family about anything and nothing.

Happiness means sitting in silence with someone you love, doing something you both enjoy or just doing nothing, but feeling at complete ease. It’s the smell of baking that fills up the whole house, into a sweet oven of toasty warm air. It’s the sound of birds in the early morning, singing a song to one another. Happiness is being with nature and appreciating the peace it brings us. It’s having gratitude for all the things we have, and feeling satisfied of how much we have. Happiness is the taste of a delicious meal.

Happiness is lying on the grass staring at the clouds. One by one they move by, changing into different shapes. It’s the feeling of going home after a rainy day to take a nice hot shower, before going in bed and falling asleep. It’s reading a book you enjoy, watching a movie you like and going places new and old. It’s the great memories you have and the ones you’re going to make. It’s waking up in the morning and deciding that it’s going to be a beautiful day. Happiness is a choice, not a destination.

Art by Oamul