Get Dirty! Cardiff’s Best Martinis

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

My first official night out, since I moved to Cardiff, happened last Friday! (thanks, once again, to the Taffy who made it happen)

The night started with a bang thanks to Dirty Martini. You see Dirty Martini knows how to make an impression on a girl, by inviting her (and companion) for a few drinks!

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Dirty Martini, located on Imperial Gate, St Mary Street, is the perfect place for a chic avant-garde evening. Sophisticated yet laid-back, elegant yet not pretentious and filled with hundreds of delicious cocktails. Whether you want to impress a girl on a date or have a fancy girls night out this is the place for you.

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The decor has an elegant and funky vintage flair, with pops of colour and clean lines.

The experience started by making an online booking a few days before our visit, it is easy to do and gives you the peace of mind that you will have a table upon arrival. Once we arrived, we were greeted and taken to our table. The staff was extremely knowledgeable on the martini and cocktail front, which was very handy because we didn’t know much. A short consultation to find out more about our tastes lead to recommendations, which we took without hesitation.

Minutes later our taste buds were delighted.

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The first round of drinks was spot on, and an explosion of flavours, colours and aromas invaded our senses. Our bartender for the night has to be the best bartender I’ve ever had. Not only impeccable service but because he knew and understood the flavours and more importantly our tastes.

The Spring Peach & Hibiscus Martini was a perfect match for me. Slightly sweet, girly and mysterious, this cloudy martini accented by a hibiscus flower is everything a girl can hope for in a glass.

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The Rum Forest Rum was very tropical, and wouldn’t you be if you were made of Ciroc Pineapple vodka and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum? If you want to be transported into a magical tropical island without having to leave the not-so-exotic country of Wales, I do recommend you drink this one.

Between rounds of drinks, our bartender served us water to clean out palates before trying the next cocktail… added points for professionalism.

 

Then things went to girly and spicy to robust and dark with The Bee Hive, an exotic combination of Patron Cafe Tequila and Mezcal that would make my Mayan brothers proud. If you like the sensual tones of coffee, honey and almond, this is your drink.

So, if you are ever in town, and fancy something more than a pint, I strongly recommend you visit Dirty Martini. Hint, hint! Happy Hour 4 pm – 10 pm Monday to Thursday, 9 pm Friday.

Xoxo

Jihane

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Summer Solstice :: Release your Feminine Fire

Let the sun rise and cleanse your energies. Recharge.

Summer Solstice and femininity – note keyword femininity, not feminism.

First of all, let me start by saying I think people who are against feminism are somewhat missing the big picture. Then again, people who believe feminism is only about painting your armpit hair purple and not shaving your legs are also missing the big picture.

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Being a feminist is to me, to aim for equality, not superiority. It is to cherish, respect and believe in one another equally and in a loving, caring manner. It is not about grabbing pussy’s and making proclamation of arts out of vaginas, no, to me, feminism is about building together pillars of mutual understanding. It’s balance. Patriarchy meets matriarchy and accepts the differences we have and assigns natural order. That said, that is only MY perspective, you don’t have to share it nor have to agree with it… The beauty of the human mind is that we all get to decide what to think and how to act.

 

What does being feminine mean to you? To me, it means being in perfect synch with nature; to understand my cycles and the cycles of the moon because they both work in synchronicity with mother earth. To me being feminine is to be proud of all my curves, proud of all of my perfect imperfections, comfortable in my skin. To me being feminine means, I am not afraid to embrace both the strong and the delicate, the nurturing and the sexual, the peace and the war within me. Because that is what we are; we are an unstoppable force of nature.

“Rituals for the day of longest light date back to ancient times and Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites. Dating back to between 3000-1500 BCE, its main axis is aligned to the solstice sunrise. Many cultures and ethnicities have celebrated, from ancient Roman celebrations of Vesta to feast days in many cultures.”

Summer Solstice (also known as Litha) is a time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves. A time to reflect upon the potential for consciousness to awaken. Yes, awaken. How many of us get tangled in the routine of our daily lives and forget what is like to be awake, truly awake and alive. Fire being the element of the Summer Solstice means this is also a time symbolic of passion, desire, and sensuality burning more intensely within the hearts of both humankind and animal kind. The sun is a warming entity, so it fires our passions and heats up our hearts to the potential of life that abounds. Take full advantage of it.

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Litha: Summer Solstice – 21st/22nd June
Litha (Midsummer, Gathering Day, Summer Solstice, Alban Heffyn, Feill-Sheathain)
Incense: Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, Lavender
Decorations: Dried herbs, potpourri, seashells, summer flowers, and fruits.
Colours: blue, green, and yellow

Embrace your inner Goddess and release your feminine fire. Dance in the wind, walk barefooted on the grass, and fly like a phoenix.

 

Onixj

Xoxo

 

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Bristol, Explore England

Hello UK!
So as you might all know I am now living and loving Wales and ALL things Welsh 😉 However last week I had the opportunity to visit Bristol across the border into my “homeland” (I have a few homes, I am a citizen of the world)

I went to Bristol for a fantastic magic-filled day of walks along the Avon river, small little cobblestone roads, old pubs, hip grubs and stunning architecture. It was beautiful! even if my “tour guide” got lost a few times, lol, I got to experience a day in a new-to-me city. So shoutout out to the taffy who made this happen. Thank you!

Speaking of The River Avon, and Welsh things. Some say the river also known as the Bristol Avon, has it the name “Avon” as a cognate of the Welsh word afon, “river”.

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We arrived at Bristol by Temple Meads, where we found a little cosy spot for breakfast at Caffe Gusto. Proper British outing can’t be complete without a bacon sandwich and a cuppa. Ok, let me explain. Yes, I had bacon. No, I do not regret it. I don’t usually do bacon; I don’t because yeah mostly plant based diet. However England it’s not England without a bacon sandwich for breakfast. Also, it had been like seven years since I had a proper bacon sarnie.

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Not far from Temple Meads it’s the beautiful St.Peter’s Church at Castle Park (pictures above and below). The church was bombed during World War II and is now preserved as a memorial surrounded by beautiful gardens. Lovely place for a romantic stroll, or to sit quietly with a book during a nice sunny day.

 

 

Further along, a walk through the historic roads can take you to little corners of delight, from farmer’s markets to street food vendors, old pubs, arcades and churches.

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A bit of history tells us that Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, and around the beginning of the 11th century, the settlement was known as Brycgstow (Old English “the place at the bridge”). Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was historically divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373 when it became a county of itself.

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The Llandoger Trow (pictured below) is a historic public house in Bristol, south-west England. Dating from 1664, it is on King Street, between Welsh Back and Queen Charlotte Street, near the old city centre docks. Named by a sailor who owned the pub after Llandogo which built throws, the building was damaged in World War II but remained in sufficiently good condition to be designated grade II* listed building status in 1959. The pub is said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write of the Admiral Benbow Inn in Treasure Island, and Daniel Defoe supposedly met Alexander Selkirk there, his inspiration for Robinson Crusoe. The pub is also supposedly haunted, with up to 15 ghosts, the best known being a small child whose footsteps can be heard on the top floor.

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So thats my short review of Bristol. I know there are a million things to see and do there. But if you ever feel like visiting an English historic old city, I do recommend you walk away from London and venture into Bristol, even if for a day or two.

Xoxo

OnixJ

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Welsh Back Road.. lol had to take a pic of that

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Festival Season Sparkle with Kiss&Glitter

Festival Season is here! and as the bands align in full bloom and you prepare your wellies and all mud-proof outfits don’t forget to add the seasons must have (after sunscreen) BODY GLITTER!

Glitter Bug! Let it shine

Not just a festival look, 2017 demands glitter in bucketfuls! Don’t be shy just apply apply apply! Let the sparkle take over.  Whether it’s your lips, eyes, cheeks or brows, if you’re not a glittery queen you are off the game. The best thing about glitter makeup? Not only is it on-trend, but it’s super fun, versatile and perfect for your festival look this summer!

This is where Kiss & Glitter come in. I just discovered them and I had to share because their glitters not only are chunky and high quality but come in the most amazing colour combinations!

We pick the best colours and materials for our chunky glitter matching trends and styles across the world and hand mix it here in the UK to make the most amazing and high impact combinations for our beautiful Kiss & Glitter pots to help make you look instantly incredible. K&G

  • How do I apply my glitter? Kiss & Glitter doesn’t stick directly to the skin on its own, apply a thin layer of Vaseline or something similar or a cosmetic glue & then dab the glitter on with your fingertips or a brush to get a more precise look.
    When using glue a good tip is to wait a moment until the glue is tacky so it sticks exactly where you want it.

Warning note: I used eye primer to add glitter on my face and that made it very water resistant which is cool for an all day festival, but hard to take off your later. 

  • How do I get it off? Face wash, soap and water, baby oil and cotton wool, all of these work. Be careful not to rub too hard when removing the glitter and not to get it in your eyes as the shapes can be sharp to sensitive areas.

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Do you want to get your hands on some Kiss & Glitter?
Go to https://www.kissandglitter.com/collections/shop-all Pick your favorites, add to cart and use Promo Code Jihane Made me Do it, for a 50% off  * ships worldwide*

But that is not all, because I love you all… FUN GIVEAWAY TIME!

Win 4 lucky dip sachets of glitter

  1. Follow @kiss & Glitter on Instagram
  2. Follow @Onixjihane on Instagram
  3. Comment on this blog post that you have followed and why you want to sparkle like a supernova mermaid this season.

Winner will be chosen randomly next Monday. *UK entries ONLY*

Please enter here
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Find out more about Glastonbury Fest 2017 HERE

Bidvine, a New Way to Get Things Done!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post 

Hey, world! as you might know by now I have moved to Cardiff. Yay! Wales, I have been wanting to come back to the UK for a long time now and I finally took the leap of faith. Like anything finding yourself in a new city without friends, and without knowing where everything is can be quite challenging. Fortunately, I came across Bidvine.

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What is Bidvine? you ask, well it is an online platform that helps you find small businesses around you. It covers a vast range of places all over the UK, and you can find from your next plumber to your next nutritionist. I am a strong advocate for local service providers and local produce, not only helps your local economy bloom but it is also eco-friendly (less carbon footprint) So when I say “small business” I mean BIG hearted, locally owned, genuine everyday people. My kind of people.

Some of the services offered on Bidvine site include:
Photography & Makeup: portrait photography, headshot photography, family photography, wedding photography, event hair and makeup.
Home: interior painting, handyman help, man with a van and more.
Fitness and Wellness: personal training, yoga, nutritionist, massage therapy.
Learning: Piano, Guitar, and Spanish lessons.

What brought me to Bidvine was the search for a nutritionist and a personal trainer in the area. I am always looking for ways to cook healthy and clean, and sometimes that goes far beyond just buying organic vegetables. And I found exactly what I needed.

Here is how it works: 

  1. Tell them what you need: by answering a few service-specific questions so that they can match your need to the right pros for the job.
  2. Get your bids and choose a pro: this is the wonderful part you can compare multiple bids and companies online. Gives you the power to choose who is best for you.
  3. Hire and done!

Have a look at my search results for Cardiff Nutritionists HERE 

They also have an app! if you are like me and always on the go, you can use their super easy and friendly app and have a whole range of services at your fingertips (Literally)

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Alternatively, if you are a business/service provider and you want to expand this is a very great tool to get you started. Have a look here to learn more 

Overall I love how easy to use it is. No need to be wasting time online searching and sieving through multiple pages to find a service provider. Especially handy, if like me, you are new in town.

Give it a go, and let me know what you find!

xoxo

Jihane

Eat Happy, Eat Organic : BOOM Awards (Plus Minestrone Soup + Veg Dumplings Recipe)

This post is in collaboration with the Soil Association and BOOM Awards 

If you have been reading me for a while you know I am an organic food advocator. I know it is not always possible to eat organic (prices, accessibility, etc) However little changes sometimes can make a huge difference. When my child was a baby (11 years ago) I made sure I only cooked organic produce purees for him. Why? Because I didn’t want any nasty chemicals in his little body, and organic is the way it was intended to be since the beginning of farming days. However back then there was less information and availability of organic foods in the local markets across the UK.

These are the dirty dozen, when possible try to buy this products organic:

The 2017 Dirty Dozen List 

EWG’s Dirty Dozen (1)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

Research released today by the Soil Association shows that 80% of British shoppers now believe  eating organic is beneficial and more shoppers understand what organic food is all about. Yay! progress! The increase in people choosing organic is being driven by availability, with organic food becoming easier to find in shops. More and more chefs, restaurants and cafes are also choosing organic, as well as food writers who are increasingly featuring organic ingredients in their recipes.

BOOM Awards (Best of Organic Market Awards)

With the continued increases in both the originality of how organic food is being offered and the exciting products now available, the BOOM Awards (Best of Organic Market Awards) celebrate what’s currently happening in the market as well as encouraging future innovation. Winners last year included Davenport Vineyards, Waitrose, Plenish Organic Cold Pressed Juices, and Booja-Booja organic truffles. The most hotly contested award is the Nation’s Favourite, a public vote to find the most popular organic product in the shops.

“The findings are encouraging and show it’s a positive time for organic. More people buy organic food regularly with 39 per cent of shoppers making it a weekly choice.” – Soil Association Certification Business Development Director, Clare McDermott

The BOOMs are not just about what you can buy in the shops, more and more restaurants and cafes are also using organic and there are increasing ways to shop from box schemes to local independents, as well as growing ranges in the supermarkets and discounters alike.  The awards recognise all of this innovation and development.

The Soil Association needs the nation’s help to find the most popular organic product. Do you have any favorites? Where do you buy them? how often do you use organic? This is the people’s chance to nominate anyone they think deserves to win.

Nominations are open until 31st May and people can vote hereThe Nation’s Favourite

Now to the tasty yummy part! I cooked an (organic) Minestrone Soup with Vegs Dumplings and I have all the photos and recipe here so that you can too!

Organic Minestrone Soup + Dumplings (RECIPE)

Soup:

  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil
  • Sprig of thyme Bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp parsley stalks 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 small organic swede, peeled and diced
  • 150g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp good red wine vinegar
  • 200g organic kale, stalks removed (reserved and chopped), leaves shredded
  • 100g orzo (or any kind of small pasta, I used small spaghetti)
  • Parsley and chervil, to garnish
  • Grated lemon zest, to garnish
  • Organic cheddar, to garnish Salt and pepper, to taste (I wanted to keep it dairy free, so I did not use cheese)

Dumplings

  • Pinch of coriander seed
  • Pinch of rye seed
  • 250g ricotta
  • 10g grated parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 100g pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • 200g spinach
  • Zest of 1 organic unwaxed lemon
  • tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp light organic spelt flour (I used Maize & Cornmeal which is gluten free)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Method

To make the soup:

Heat the olive oil over a medium to high heat. Add the thyme, bay leaf and parsley stalks and stir, cooking for a minute or two to infuse the oil, then add the diced veg and cook, stirring for 10–15 minutes, until softened and smelling good. Add the plum tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes before adding a litre of water, vinegar and the kale stalks, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10–15 minutes, allowing all the flavours to infuse. During this time, make the dumplings.

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Dumplings:

Dry fry the spices in a frying pan until they start to crackle. Remove and grind in a pestle and mortar. Wash the spinach and then wilt in a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. There should be enough residual water on the spinach to mean that you don’t need to add any oil or water. After a couple of minutes, once wilted, transfer the spinach to a sieve and leave over the sink to drain. Press down on the leaves with a wooden spoon to squeeze out any excess water. Once cooled and drained, chop finely. Place the ricotta in a bowl and add all of the other ingredients.

Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine and incorporate all the ingredients. Oil your hands lightly with olive oil and shape them into meatball sized balls.

Poach them in the minestrone. Alternatively, you could bring a pan of water to the boil and cook them in the boiling water for 5 minutes, until they float – removing them with a slotted spoon.

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Don’t forget you can get involved with organic too, the BOOMs Nation’s Favourite Award asks the people to find and vote for the most popular organic product. Nominations are open NOW until to Wednesday, May 31st – make sure you have your say here: https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/the-boom-awards-2017/nationsfavourite/

Jihane – @Onixjihane


Big thanks to  Rosie Birkett BOOMbassador for all the info provided in this post. 

Picnic Penarth <3 Foodie Heaven in the Welsh Coast

Last weekend was my first foodie event since I arrived back in the UK. And oh boy, do the Welsh know their foodies! I attended Picnic Penarth, in Penarth, Wales.

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Penarth is a town in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, 5.2 miles south-west from the city centre of the Welsh capital city of Cardiff and lying on the north shore of the Severn Estuary at the southern end of Cardiff Bay. I am in love with the area and hopefully, if all goes as planned I can move there into a lovely house/flat. But more about that later.

Picnic Penarth is a free, kid and dog-friendly congregation of fantastic local food trucks and restaurants offering delicious food “al fresco” thankfully the Welsh weather was on our side and it allowed everyone to enjoy in the sun (and some clouds now and then, you know, is the UK after all)

IMG_2766I was pleased to see so many dog parents with their furry babies, SO CUTE! the atmosphere was fun, relaxed and vibrant. The aromas emanating from each single corner of the place were amazing! Hard to decide which to try first. The queues were long, I am not gonna lie, I had to wait 20+ minutes for crispy avocado tacos but I promise you it was worth it.

So about those tacos. The Beaded Taco Truck had some Scrumpti-licious food! I went vegetarian with the super fresh, and tangy avocado tacos. Cooked to perfection with the delicate crispy tempura style avocados. No spice tho, but they had sauces you could add if you needed to add some fire to your meal. Two tacos for 6 pounds, perfect street food. LOVE THEM.

Then there is Pizza Pronto Team. These guys are amazing not only at making pizzas but at giving back to the community. (more on that in another blog post soon) Their fun, quirky pizza menu had them at the center of everyone’s (belly’s) attention. That and their giant vintage pizza sign and baby blue car.

Another winner for me (sweet tooth) was Dawn’s Pantry with their stricking looking cakes. I had a slice of heaven with their Strawberry Milkshake cake. The right amount of sweet, moist and tasty. The little sour rainbow gummy was a trip to childhood memories and a zesty bang to an amazing cake.

…Let’s not forget the Greek food truck, that although I did not try their food I saw many many satisfied fellow picnic goers finger licking and devouring their meaty treats.

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And these fellows… with a burst of flavour and exotic spice…

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Overall Picnic Penarth was an amazing foodie experience, filled with tasty treats, yummy food and a fantastic atmosphere. I am sure next year will be a blast too!

Do you know of any other foodie events around Cardiff? Let me know! (If vegetarian options available even better)

Until next time

xoxo

Jihane

Hello Wales! Where is Cardiff & Why is it so Great?

HELLO CAERDYDD!

It’s been two weeks since I landed in Welsh lands and oh boy I am in love. There is so much to this city I don’t even know where to start. Let’s cover a bit of the basics. First and foremost, Helo Cymru.

 

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Cardiff Bay

 

Cardiff, or Caerdydd in Welsh, is the Capital of Wales. Wales is part of the U.K but it is not England – it’s Wales. The story of Wales begins with the Celts. The Celts began migrating from their central European homeland around 1000 BC. The recorded history of Wales begins with the arrival of the Romans on Welsh borders. At that time people spoke a Celtic language – Brythonic, the language that would eventually evolve into Welsh.

The Normans invade England. Wales proves resistant to the Normans’ power and the Welsh rise in revolt. Ah! feisty! By 1100 the Normans had been driven out of Gwynedd, Ceredigion and most of Powys. Fast forward to 1955, Cardiff is officially declared capital of Wales. Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital city. Oh and you can see it and feel it. Cardiff is vibrant and full of energy but also holds so much historic wisdom. Cardiff its sort of like a young wild wise lady dressed with the scales of a dragon and the spirit of fire.

Fun fact: Neanderthals lived in what is now Wales, or Cymru in Welsh, at least 230,000 years ago, while Homo sapiens arrived by about 31,000 BC. … A number of kingdoms formed in present-day Wales in the post-Roman period.

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Bute Park, Cardiff

 

I love how the city balances green space and city life. It is surrounded by many green well maintain parks and green areas. The city, now in the spring, is buzzing with the bright colors of flowers.  Also, so far everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. I have met a few people thanks to online groups like meetup.com and everyone is lovely and polite. I love it! Diolch everyone! (that means, thank you)

Not far from the city center many suburbs hold hidden treasures, little time capsules. One of my favorite places so far is Radyr. The Parish of Radyr came into existence soon after the Norman Conquest of Wales around the beginning of the 12th century. The area had had a long history before the Conquest. Archaeological findings suggest that the Lesser Garth Cave (behind the Ty Nant Inn) was inhabited from the Stone Age onwards. The place is magical surrounded by forest and historic facts. It’s uphills aligned with colorful houses and it’s air fresh and crisp.

Penarth, I feel deeply in love with. Putting it out there for the universe to hear me. I want to settle in Penarth. Near the sea yet close to Cardiff, this place is my dream. I will dedicate a whole post to Penarth in the next few weeks as I dig into its history and roots. But in the meanwhile, I’ll leave one picture here.

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Penarth Historic Pier

 

Another fun fact about Cardiff? The 2017 Football Champions League Final will be celebrated here, this June! Exciting!

Wanna know more about Wales, follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @onixjihane

xoxo

Jihane

Gypsy Heart :: Moving to Another Land

I often choose to start with a blank page.

Why are we so scared of beginnings?

Some of us have that nomad gene dormant in our subconscious perhaps? I was born in one country, moved to another, then another, then lived my childhood in one place, but always traveling, tasting and exploring (thanks, mum & dad).
Then I became a young adult, and I went back to my place of birth. Became an adult and found myself falling headfirst against the ground of adulthood reality. I moved again. I moved again to heal, to find myself, and to grow internally and as a person. I’ve accomplished my mission and I am now ready to go.

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I keep moving. My mind and my body feel the need to explore, learn, move. We are not static beings. Our ancestors kept moving in the search for more food, land, and opportunities. It is part of human nature. However, if you chose not to move and to stay in one place that is fine too – if it works for you, it works for you. I personally don’t need to have roots in one place in order to feel whole. I am whole in the wind, in the immense universe of life, in the eternal shining of the stars.

Life is fluid. Is a constant movement of actions, reactions, people, and worlds.

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After spending 9 years in Newcastle, I moved to Houston, Texas. That was a 180-degree change. From the old world into the new. From the small streets to the vast distances of Texas. From the rainy cold afternoons to the hot and humid sunny gatherings.
Texas opened its gigantic doors to me and I embraced it’s cultural diversity, its simplistic pomposity (Hipster style) and its warm long afternoons – although I still think sweet tea is an abomination, sorry not sorry… joking, it’s ok if you hate tea. lol.

My heart is black and white stripes (Newcastle FC) with Catrinas (Mexican, Dia de Los Muertos) and majestic bullhorns (Texas). My heart also waves the Venezuelan flag (Amarillo, Azul y Rojo) and has so much more space waiting to be colored and filled with new experiences, cultures, and faces.

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I am forever grateful to all the things learned during my time in the USA. The truth is, I am a culture junkie. I find eternal happiness in the discovery of new cultures, in the understanding of new traditions, in the tolerance of new ideologies. I am a Third Culture child and my heart aches for knowledge and adventure.

So today, I say Salud! Cheers to new and old places. Cheers to growth and discovery. Cheers to adventure! Cheers to YOU, to ME and to the WORLD.

See you at my next destination – Cymru.

Xoxo