True Happiness Is Raising Others Up

76db5407e1a3729ea6741b481cd2faceI still remember when I told a classmate back in high school that I would apply to university and study music, and she told me “You’ll never get in”. It didn’t bother me because I’m someone who believes in chasing your dreams and your passion. I got into university at the time, and it’s certainly true – you can do anything you set your mind to. A beautiful mind is one that doesn’t feel jealousy towards others, but raises them up and applauds them. I feel the need to write this because I feel that is happening more commonly among women, where some people feel the need to tear others down in order to feel better.

Thinking back, it is a reflection of herself in that she didn’t have confidence within, which means when treating others, she wouldn’t have that confidence in them. That’s why it’s important to build a desire and habit of thinking of self-love, because often when people put others down, it’s because they are hurting or feeling a certain sadness or anger inside. I watched a film called Ernest & Celestine, and it was one of the sweetest films I’ve watched since watching Amelie. There’s beauty in having faith and kindness towards others and believing in them no matter how different you are.

Many people put down others to make them feel as sad or unhappy as they feel, in order to feel better about themselves. It’s a terrible cycle because in the end it just spreads negativity, and the person themselves won’t truly feel happy. Raising others up is a sign of love and care, the kind our loved ones give us when we were learning something for the first time. They encourage, motivate and believe in you. That energy can really push you to strive to succeed and achieve your goals, which is why it’s important to surround yourself with people who are a positive influence.

When we raise people up, we are also raising ourselves up. Words of encouragement inspire self-improvement, and all of us have space to get better and better at many things. However, when we push people down, we push ourselves down as well. We swim in an ocean of negativity and unhappiness by focusing on things that have no value. If you push others down, you are failing yourself. Be happy for others success in life, because when we build comparisons we also build walls between people. Everyone hits rock bottom in periods of their lives, but we can all lend a hand to pull them back up.

Art by Yelena Bryksenkova



The Pros And Cons Of Flatting

e636813dfa1d89e54fa1b8296214b56dWhen I left home at 16, I didn’t expect I’d move around as much as I have. It’s been 5 years, and the experiences I’ve had with living with other people have their good and bad. Everyone’s experiences will be different, and every person you live with will teach you something. My first year living out of home was at a university hostel, my second year I lived with two girls, my third and fourth year I lived with Mr. Penguin and this year I am living with three people.

Although, it’d be nice to be living with Mr. Penguin or live on my own this year, living with other people makes you learn a lot about others and yourself. This is slightly a rant post of frustration and stress that I really need to express, as my ideal situation would be living in a flat with 3 cats with Mr. Penguin. As someone who really values space and quiet, living with other people can come with its challenges. If you’re an HSP you might relate to some of these.


When people are clean it makes a world of difference. Living with clean people is one of the biggest things I have when living with people. It makes such a huge difference and makes it feel like a space you can really live in.

Everyone does their own chores. It might be taking the trash out, vacuuming your own room, cleaning after yourself, doing your own dishes, cleaning your own space, washing the clothes and keeping the flat tidy.

Having someone to talk to when you’re bored. I don’t talk to my current flatmates very often, but it’s nice to have people to talk to when you’re feeling bored or just talk about your day.

Not getting outwardly upset about things as much. I’ve only cried once while living in my current place because there’s something about living with people I don’t know well. I don’t like letting others see me crying or getting upset about something.


Not being able to completely let loose. If I’m upset I tend to want to sing at the top of my lungs, but living in someone’s home tends to stop that, and I feel very limited in being able to be completely myself, especially living with people I don’t really know.

The smell of the dishwasher. I’m used to washing dishes by hand, but some places have dishwashers, however the build up of dishes sitting there over a week is a smell of food and saliva.

When people don’t bother recycling. This is a big frustration for me because if you’re living with others, you hope they are conscious of recycling. However, when I see people who just throw the bottles etc into the rubbish bin it’s frustrating.

When someone takes a shower when you wanted to. This doesn’t happen too often, but there are moments where you want to take a shower and stick to your schedule, but living with other people, it’s natural that sometimes this happens.

Any noise past 10:30pm makes you want to die. This is a huge rant for anyone who makes huge noise after 10:30pm, because, for some of us, it means lying in bed unable to fall asleep until the noise is gone or we’re too exhausted. I’ve had experience of someone vacuuming at midnight, talking and laughing or putting the dryer on.

When people talk loudly when you’re trying to focus. If it’s past 10:30pm and I hear my flatmates talking loudly downstairs while I’m trying to study or sleep, it’s incredibly frustating. If you’re a morning person but your flatmates are night owls it can be a world of pain.

Little things can make you want to die. Reading this in a years time, I’ll probably smile at how frustrated I am today. However, little things like toothpaste on the sink, hair shavings all over the sink, loud noise and not bothering to recycle will tick me off.

Having small talk and wanting to escape. Being asked “How are you?” every time you see a flatmate is a pet peeve of mine, but we all do it, and it’s annoying at times because it’s asked out of politeness, not genuine interest most of the time.

rant over

Art by Yuliya

Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Your Dreams

486f7e926b2270b84179c3bb3b1e9c24.jpgThis is one of the most important reminders in life that we need. Last year I wrote a post called Getting Outside Of Your Comfort Zone because for a very long time I allowed my anxiety to take over my daily life.  Most fear is built up in our imagination. Once we conquer our fear, it never is as scary as you thought it would be. Playing it safe can limit us. Sometimes taking risks, challenging ourselves and breaking our safety barrier can make us stronger and wiser. Fear of Failure stops us from taking the first step. When we fear failure, we have already set ourselves up for failure in our mind. It means that we don’t give ourselves the chance to try.

Many goals and successes that someone reaches, has conquered many failures. I remember watching the ballet, The Nutcracker. The ballerinas make every move look graceful and effortless, yet it took a lot of hard work, time, energy and passion. Through all of that, they have faced their own failures. It took moments where there may have been many bad practice days or rejections from auditions, but there they were on the stage now, because they had a dream and worked hard for it. Fear tells us to not try and it tells us we’re not worth it. It stops us from enjoying life and being happy in the moment.

In order to achieve our goals, we must start with the first step. Our mind is so powerful because every thought we feed it affects the actions we’ll take. If we tell ourselves we can, then we’ll make that action to do it, and that’s when we set the path in the direction we build for ourselves. Everyone is on a different journey, and we all want to achieve different things in our life. Life is unpredictable, but having dreams is what makes it worthwhile. I saw the quote the other day, that we aren’t here to pay the bills and die. It’s absolutely true!

Life has far more meaning, and dreams are within all of us. We often want to wait for the right moment when we feel ready, but often that moment won’t really come. Most things in life start when we take the first step, just the way we learn to take the first step as a baby. We might have fallen over, but we have to keep trying until we learn to walk, and now it’s something we don’t even think about, we just do. In that moment we might have been hesitant, but when you pass that feeling of your comfort zone, there is so much you realise you have the ability to achieve. It all starts with taking the first step.

Art by Naomi Wilkinson

Feed Your Mind With Good Thoughts

b32b16e1ab4404f0dc8279b19b1e9e0f.jpgWe all have good and bad days, even when it seems like we’re the only one feeling this way. I recently finished reading a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, which I highly recommend for anyone at any stage of their life. This week I’ve realised how much food affects my mood, and what I feed into my body. When I have a healthy, nutritious meal, I feel revitalised, energised and able to think clearly. This is similar to what we feed our mind, and the food we give it. If you think bad thoughts, they can grow and grow, the way someone might eat junk food often and feel sick and tired.

No one can be happy, smiling and laughing all the time. However, after reading the book, it makes you realise that we have the ability to remain conscious and choose inner peace when we accept things as they are. There are many things we cannot change, but we have the ability to decide our attitude and feelings towards the situation. The Power of Now reminds us of that true fulfilment in life, is living this moment right here, right now. It’s this very moment that you’re reading these words, taking a deep breath and being aware of your surroundings.

Living in the moment is what gives us true joy because we don’t dwell in the past, and we don’t constantly live in the future when we think thoughts like when this happens when that happens…then I’ll be happy. This seems to happen often, that we tell ourselves when I finally have this or that, I’ll be happy. True happiness, is being grateful for this very moment you have right now. The way I think of it is the way that tomorrow is not guaranteed. If I were not here tomorrow, then I would have wanted to live the day before being kind to myself, feeding myself good thoughts and being kind to other people.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
― Bill Watterson

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.”
― Maya Angelou

“What day is it?” It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne

21 Things I’ve Learned In 21 Years

d3a5376fb81beec6def2d7d479e1d63b.jpgAs each year goes by, we can reflect on how much we’ve grown as a person and the lessons we learned. Although the title mentions what I’ve learned in 21 years, I believe that these are aspects that we learn through different stages of our lives, and some may be lessons that we continuously learn from each day. Maturity can’t be defined by an age, but as each passing year goes by, I hope I have become a little wiser and a little kinder than the year before.

1) Surround yourself with good people. At this stage of my life, I no longer waste any time with people that will drain energy or pour negativity into my life. Those were lessons that I learned during my teenage years. Surround yourself with people who are intelligent, kind hearted, hard working and perhaps have a similar humour with you. You bounce off each other’s energy and help each other grow.

2) Life is unpredictable. It’s important to plan ahead and set goals that you’d like to achieve. In terms of decisions in life or situations, sometimes they can change last minute, or sometimes we change over time and no longer feel our heart is in it to do certain things we were once passionate about. It’s okay, because life is unpredictable.We go through those experiences to learn something from them.

3) True beauty comes from your heart.  No matter how much I may love fashion and beauty, beauty that is eternal is the one from your heart. It’s the kind that radiates when you’re 5 years old and 95 years old. It’s that true part of ourselves that is selfless, loving and kind. No one wants to be surrounded by a person with an ugly heart.

4) Don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s easy to skim over a cover of a book and make quick assumptions. However, we do this with people as well. It’s natural to make assumptions about someone from what they wear and how they present themselves. We don’t truly know a person until we spend the time to get to know them, and even then, everyone goes through their own experiences.

5) Listen more than you speak.  This isn’t to say talk less, but a simple reminder to listen more and to listen to different opinions and keep an open mind. It means being able to listen to different views even if you don’t agree with them, and it also means being a listener to someone in a time of need. With all the noise in the world, sometimes we don’t listen as best as we could, but listening may show that we care or we want to understand

6) Do things that make you happy.  It’s funny how much we may stop ourselves from doing things that make us feel happy. It’s easy if you go through a bad period for it to constantly feed off the negative energy, and grow and grow until you feel that you don’t deserve to enjoy life. What’s life without doing things that make us happy?

7) Love yourself before you love others. When you accept who you are as a person, you can be accepting, non-judgmental, loving and be caring towards other people. You have more tolerance and are more grounded in who you are, rather than insecure and judgmental towards others.

8) Grow and learn from mistakes.  Everyone makes mistakes. No matter how bad they may seem at the time, we can choose to grow and learn from those mistakes. They remind us how to face a situation better the next time, or they give us an opportunity to decide what we want to change about ourselves.

9) Noone’s life is perfect.  It doesn’t matter how picture perfect someone’s life may look online or offline, nobody’s life is perfect. Everyone has something that makes them laugh, cry, feel angry, upset and frustrated. We are all meant to live our own life and not the lives of anyone else.

10) You only need a handful of people in your life. Quality of relationships is far more important than a number of people you have in your life. The handful of people in your life are the ones you can trust and know that they will be there for you in a time of need. This also ties into the lesson that it’s important to spend quality time with yourself.

11) Food can affect your mood. Plus, it can affect your health. Eat healthily and drink enough water. When we fuel our body well, we feel ready for the day and we feel far more energy. What you feed into your body affects your mind as well.

12) Take care of your skin. Skincare is so important. Always wear sunscreen everyday, even on cloudy days or during winter time. Use products that are effective and work for you. Your skin is the largest organ of your body.

13) The most important people are your family. Family will always be family. That’s a kind of love that is different to any kind of friendship love. It’s the kind where everyone has seen each other at their highest and lowest. The simple things from what annoy one another to what makes one another smile.

14) We can’t be friends with everyone. It’s important to be kind to people, but we can’t be good friends with everyone. There are certain people we will click and have that connection with over other people, and that’s completely natural. Even though it’s important to be kind, if you feel there are toxic people entering into your life, it’s important to distance yourself.

15) Your values affect your lifestyle. Throughout my teenage years I was always very stubborn in the sense that I refused to conform to what everyone else was doing. My first year of uni at 16, meant that I just didn’t see the point of getting drunk and partying. What you value in life shapes who you are as a person, and then you can attract people with similar values into your life.

16) What you think you become. When you feed thoughts into your mind, there’s a strong feeling towards them. Sometimes they can be full of truth and other times they aren’t true. We can be more harsh and critical towards ourselves than to anyone else. Being kind and having positive self-talk will reflect how you treat others.

17) You’ll never regret being yourself. The wise words once told to me to just be yourself are golden words. Similar to 14) if we be ourselves, then we can attract the right friends into our lives. We can attract the people that appreciate who we are, rather than changing ourselves to fit in.

18) Dont’ be afraid to fail. Success is a result of battling through many failures and staying persistent and consistently learning, growing and improving. If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re afraid to try. Those who have always tried (such as athletes and musician) and don’t give up are the ones who create their own success.

19) Dreams can change. Remember when you were a child, and you were asked: “What do you want to become when you grow up?” I’m sure some of us had a long list of what they wanted to be. Over the years, my dreams have changed quite incredibly, and that’s okay.

20) Never be too hard on yourself. As much as we should strive for self-improvement, don’t be so hard on yourself that you push yourself downwards. If you’re too hard on yourself there won’t be any room to go upwards.

21) A smile comes from the inside. Be genuine with how you feel. I always feel a silent frustration when people pretend to be a certain way with certain people, but then you know that you wouldn’t want to be that way. A smile comes from within.

Art by Yelena Bryksenkova

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