19 October 2015

Today is...

The wait is finally over! I've made it down to Eton!
It's been a very emotional and tiring few days, saying good bye to everyone in work, saying goodbye to the apartment and heaving all of my stuff to the new place. But it's all done and I'm excited to settle into my new life living riverside on the Thames. Our apartment isn't one of the actual riverside ones. Unfortunately, we don't have a couple of million pounds lying around - yes, that's how much those apartments/houses in the photo above cost! But we're only seconds away from the river, so that's pretty cool. We live very, very close to the bridge in the photos below and I completely adore it.

I'm pumped for all the adventures waiting for us here. The apartment in Leicester was amazing but the city itself, while nice enough, always felt like things needed to be forced to happen. Here things seems to happen more organically. It has more of an outdoor feel to the place. There's life moving all the time. There's tourists everywhere, there's people kayaking, rowing and swimming in the river, there's constant events in and around the castle and Eton College, it's only a short train ride into London city centre, the parks here are magnificent and because some of them are royal the maintenance is immaculate.
I'm looking forward to blogging more about the beauty in this place. For now, here's just a few quick snaps I've taken over some visits of my favourite spots so far (we still haven't seen everything here yet!).

Aoife x

09 October 2015


So many wonderful things have happened in my life lately. It makes me regret not blogging along the way. A blog can be a wonderful place to reminisce about the different stepping stones in your life (if you don't fall behind, like I have). I really wish I had kept up to date with it all. But why cry over unpublished posts? Onwards and upwards.
Here's a quick catch up on the three biggest changes that are making me happy right now.

My first big change (and my favourite) is that myself and Jim are now engaged! Can you believe that? The first person I had a real conversation with in Canada is now the man I'm going to marry. Sometimes I have a hard time taking in all the twists and turns that led my life in this direction. It's crazy!
I'm completely in love with the ring (and the fiancé, of course!). He put a lot of thought into it and, while I utterly adore the way it looks, the effort and thoughtfulness that contributed to his decision is one of the reasons I can't stop staring at it.
Wonderful times, with wonderful things ahead.

The second change, which is a little more bittersweet, is that we're leaving Leicester and moving to beautiful Eton.
Jim got an amazing job in one of the private schools in the area. I had recently obtained a role in work that I had coveted since I started there and wasn't ready to let that job go. But I couldn't ask Jim to give up his opportunity either. We decided to have two apartments, one in Leicester and one in Eton, and hop between the two. Jim was so supportive of the whole thing and I had planned to keep this up for maybe a year or so, but I started to become unhappy with the situation. I missed my fiancé terribly, things in work changed and I started to notice unhappiness seep in. When I visited Eton I became more enchanted with the place and coming back to Leicester always felt like a step back - like I was stumbling backwards into the previous chapter of my life when I should have been jumping into the next.
So, I've recently decided to make the permanent move to Eton and, while I'm sad to leave my apartment and the people I work with behind, I'm becoming more and more excited everyday about the move.

The third one is yoga. I have become massively obsessed with yoga in the past while. It has really taken a hold on my life and I seem to move everything around it lately (our new apartment had to have a place for me to practice!).
I'm very much into the physical side of it, rather than the spiritual. I really like the positivity and calmness that surrounds yoga, and I love seeing others become absorbed into their own spiritual journey and be very happy within that, but I'm just not a very dogmatic person. I never have been. So, I tend to forgo the spiritual aspects and focus on finding the right style and balance of practice for myself.
I've a lot to learn, but I'm really enjoying myself in the meantime.

Thanks for reading about the new changes in my life. I'd like to think I'd start posting about my life more regularly, but I've attempted to do just that before and it's always fallen through. It's a pity because I really enjoy blogging, it's something that has always made me happy. Both in posting about my own life and reading about other's.
Right now, I'm just going to promise myself that I'll blog whenever I feel like it, simply for the joy of it. If that happens to only be one post per decade then so be it!

Aoife x

12 November 2014

Trusting Your Instincts

I think anyone who's ever moved away, took a risk, or dived head first into a new opportunity can relate to this inexplicable feeling that they need to do it. It's scary, because you don't know if it will be the best or worst thing to happen to you but somehow you know you have to try. You're pulled towards whatever it is, and you seem to go above and beyond to make it happen.
Then there's another feeling. One that nags at you when something doesn't feel right. When presented with an opportunity you're unmotivated to go for it, make excuses and are just plain lackadaisical about the whole thing, even though it's something you "should" be excited about.
I recently learned a valuable life lesson about this feeling and realised it's actually a very important part of life, despite the fact it can be mistaken for apathy at times. I took it for granted until I ignored it and went against my better judgment. Let me tell you a quick story.

I worked in a lovely shop here in Leicester. They hired me when I moved over from Canada and was getting overlooked continuously for jobs. I will always be grateful to them for saving me in the nick of time. I loved working there and had an absolute blast. But I needed more hours. It's just that simple.
I eventually came across a new opportunity. It ticked all the right boxes - full time, high hourly wages, chances to advance, and lovely people. I was hired in the interview and it was mixture of relief and panic. Relief because I now had full time hours, I could afford more things and I could even start saving properly again. Panic because I was scared of getting the job. Even from when I filled out the application form something felt off. I told myself it was just scared of change, even though I've never been scared of change before. Maybe it was because I was getting older and more settled? I decided to go for it anyway. Full time work is really hard to come by, who was I to say no?
I definitely knew something wasn't right when one day my co-worker from the job I was leaving asked "Are you excited to start your new job?" and I answered, "Actually, no." I had no idea where that answer came from. I usually love new things. New places, new people, new adventures. Even if they panic me a little. I get very excited when these things are laid out in front of me. The fact that I was anything but excited told volumes. I just didn't listen.
I muted out what my gut was telling me, assuring myself it was because of this and that, and prepared myself to take on whatever was thrown at me. I would work hard, climb the ladder, carve out a career for myself and..... I hated it. I mean, I really hated it. I was uncomfortable in the work, I was undertrained for where I was, I received minor injuries and and came close to big injuries multiple times. I became very anxious at the thought of stepping through the doors at the start of my shift. I didn't sleep. I barely ate. I became quite hard on myself, thinking that the reason I hated the job so much was because I was being stupidly lazy. It's just hard work, why was I taking it so badly?
Jim sat me down, talked to me and tried to convince me to quit. I felt it was selfish on my part as all the responsibilities would be thrown at him. Despite his support, my Mother's support and the fact that my insides were screaming at me to quit, I refused to leave. I trekked on, telling myself I was lucky to have this job, that I looked for so long to find a full time work and now that I have it I'm being stupid to hate it this much.
I slowly began to realise I should have listened to my gut from the beginning. All along it was telling me this wasn't right, I wouldn't like it. Why did I leave my other lovely job? Sure it was less money, but I was happy there. Why didn't I trust myself more? I'm usually good at figuring these things out and being able to cut certain aspects out of my life when they don't make me happy anymore. I started to see that this feeling has been behind a lot of big decisions all my life. That I've not only listened to the good parts that say "Yeay! Let's go for it!" but I've subconsciously been listening to the "Meh. It's not for me." too.

Thankfully, one evening I received an email from a job I had applied for months and months back asking me to attend an interview. Suddenly, all the excitement, the motivation, the scary-but-in-a-good-way butterflies, they all rushed back to me. This felt familiar, this felt right, this was that feeling I was lacking. I had to go. I HAD to. There was just one problem... I was scheduled to work during the interview. That sealed it for me. My instinct was telling me to go to this interview and for the first time in weeks I actually listened. So, I quit. I had no guarantee that I would get this job or even be presented with any other offers in the near future, but I still quit.
The difference was instant. I noticed I was practically skipping to the interviews, despite the fact I had no safety net if I was passed up, but I was so excited and pumped and loved being around these people, this atmosphere. It fit me.
If this was how happy I was during the interviews, can you imagine my excitement when I was told I got the job? I utterly love it there. I couldn't think of a place I would rather work. I'm incredibly happy.

I'm continuously grateful for the way things work out. I feel they always do, somehow. Even if the end result isn't the outcome I've wanted, they've worked out. I was never sure why this happened? I always put it down to sheer dumb luck and an ability to shrug my shoulders, adapt and just get on with it. This experience has made me think that maybe instinct has a bigger part to play too. Somehow, even when you've no idea which decision to make, you're already unknowingly guiding yourself. Your gut instinct knows what you want, though sometimes it's hard to read. It's obvious when it's very clear signs like getting excited about something, even though it's daunting and scary. It's much harder to read when it's telling you something is just not right for you because it can feel like you're just making excuses and being lazy about it. Of course, I do believe there is a fine line but, at the end of the day, if you're not feeling enthusiastic about something, doesn't that say a lot right there?

Aoife x