29 August 2012

"Sorry Miss, But You're Overweight"

For a while now, I have been teetering dangerously (ooh er) on the edge of being a healthy weight and being, dare I say it, over weight. My weight has stayed steady for a couple of years now and sure there have been times when I've wished I could shed a few pounds, there have also been times when I have shed a few pounds and there have been even more times when I've put a few on. But that's how my body goes and we get through it together and carry on on our merry little way. 

Until today that is when a great big, fat, over weight bomb was dropped on us, my body and I. So, this is what happened..

I went to see the nurse over a pesky cough I've had for ages and so she took my blood pressure like a good nurse should, asked me my height and to then step onto the scales. My blood pressure was fine, my height is below average but I've known this for a while and my weight...well, my weight went a little something like this:

Nurse takes weight measurement. Nurse takes BMI chart. Nurse looks at weight in correspondence to height and then looks confused. Nurse looks at me confused, wrinkles her brow, then shakes her head and looks at re-aligning her measurements on the chart again. And then comes the talk I've been waiting for, the one that I know the scales have been trying to tell me for a long while now, "For the love of God Melita, just put that doughnut down and stop stuffing your face already. Can't you feel us crumpling under your chubby, blubbery mass? Can't you see the needle spinning countless times, around and around, for crying out loud just STOP EATING! We judge you Melita, we judge you." Reality?

Nurse, "Erm, Miss Kiely, it says on this chart that you are over weight as your BMI is slightly over 25". Oh god, the words I had been dreading and preparing a speech along the lines of, 'BUT I'M ONLY A SIZE 10 AND A SIZE 8 ON A GOOD DAY, IN A GOOD SHOP! HOW CAN THIS BE?'  

But I needn't have prepared such a speech because before I had the chance to exclaim such confusion and outrage she threw her chart aside and cried, "But screw the chart. I am looking at you now and you, my dear, are not over weight!" And then we laughed and did a happy dance and slagged off the ridiculous chart that claims that somebody who is a size 10 and a size 8 on a good day, in a good shop is over weight. We slammed down our fury at a chart that embeds insecurities into so many young women and men (hey boys, we know you feel it too) when it does not take into account muscle to fat ratios, whether you exercise or smoke or drink or do drugs. 

And d'ya know what, I could have kissed that nurse today (Sandra, I think her name was) for throwing that chart aside and telling me to ignore it and that I was not overweight and that in fact, I was pretty damn healthy. And I could punch you in the face Mr maker of BMI charts, because fuck it; I am fine exactly how I am. 

28 August 2012

Being A Fresher

So it is that time of year where results are in and hundreds of thousands of teenagers across the country are ticking off the days until they move out of the humble parent abode and into the magical land of halls. When I first went to university I was not at all prepared for what it would entail. I mean, I had a duvet, pots and pans and a laptop (it was a big deal in my day) but I wasn't really prepared for the enormity of it all.
I was a shy little bean when I went to uni, like, silly shy. The idea of meeting new people and having to talk to them scared the life out of me. It made me feel physically sick and as if I would burst into tears at any moment. The first few weeks at uni were a scary experience and I wish I had had the advice and encouragement to enjoy the very first experience more and not be so worried or nervous. It took me at least a month to find my feet and pluck up the courage to really embrace student life, so I am writing this post for anybody who might be as nervous as my 18 year old self was in those first few instances.

1. It is so much easier to meet and keep contacts nowadays. Facebook and Twitter alike will have countless groups, pages and events for you to join, like and interact with. You can find out who is living in your halls, when they will be moving in (I was terrified of being the only one in my house) and what events everyone is talking about for Freshers Week. Hind sight is a wonderful thing and a heads up ain't too bad either.

2. Throw yourself into EVERYTHING. Accept every invitation that comes your way, say hello to everybody that you are introduced to. Swap numbers, go for coffee, lunch, beer, a double vodka, lemonade and lime or just an orange juice. Interact with everybody you know. These people will be your closest friends for the next 2/3/4 years and the better the friends you make now, chances are the better your time at uni will be. It's much harder to become part of a friendship group once the bond has been sealed.

3. Join a society. Take up something new or pursue an existing hobby. This is not only another chance for you to meet future friends but employees want to employ interesting people to work for them. If you have all the grades and experience you need on paper, this extra curricular activity might be just the thing that gives the edge over everybody else; it shows a commitment and ability to go that little bit farther, to do that little bit extra. And honestly just makes you a little more interesting. 

4. If you need a job, try and get one with your student union. It is the best option for students. I have had friends weeping on Christmas day because the hotel they waitress at made them work Christmas Day or Boxing Day, meaning that either they were not home at all for Christmas or that celebrations were cut short in order to return to a lonely city miles away from home. An SU job means that chances are you work during term time and are then free to enjoy the holidays as you wish.

5. Go home once in a while. Don't be too keen to break ties with boring little ol' home now that you are an independent woman or man. You more than likely owe your folks everything for getting there and now that there is some distance, you may very well find that the heart does indeed grow fonder meaning relationships are better.

6. Keep in touch with your home friends during term time. Start a Facebook message with everyone included and update it every once in a while. It is so important to keep in touch with your old friends while building your uni life with your new found friendships. Reunions with friends from back home are always something to anticipate and welcome when those long holidays come and believe you me, you will all have some pretty special tales to tell!

7. Take photos. Take photos all the time, everywhere you go. You will want to look back one day and laugh and smile about every little memory even those that make you want to die a little inside. You will want to share your photos with the world and show everyone how wonderful university life it. It all goes so quickly, trust me, and you will want each and every moment documented.

8. Do not think that Freshers year 'means nothing'. For a lot of universities, the first year is like an induction into uni life; the grades do not count towards your final degree and therefore it is seen as a party year. Well, to a certain extent, it is just that! In my 2nd and 3rd year I wasn't able to go out nearly half as much as I did in my Freshers year. But make sure you get the grade you want at the end of your first year, it could very well set the tone for the rest of your degree; nobody likes playing catch up.

Most people are probably just as nervous about starting university as you are, so bear that in mind. It is a new way of learning, a new city and a new way of living. Leaving home for the first time is an exciting yet daunting step. Like I said, embrace it, say yes to every invitation (stay safe, of course), be inquisitive and interesting and soak up every second. Make friends and some of the best memories and I can assure you that everything falls into place eventually and becomes second nature. It will be incredible.

25 August 2012

Roma, Part Two

This time last week I was hopping off a sight seeing bus and stepping foot upon the beautiful Vatican City. I've wanted to visit the Vatican since I can remember and after burning the soles of our shoes whilst queueing in the mid-morning heat, we were finally inside the walls of St. Peter's Basilica.
Unknowingly jumping into the wrong queue we ended up buying tickets to walk to the very top of the Church, but at only 5 euros each we couldn't really complain. Rob's fear of heights got the better of him about 300 steps up and after edging his way around the circumference of the balcony, he made a swift decent back down to sea level! For me, it was onwards and upwards and slightly sidewards as the walls curved round. After clambering up over 500 stairs, through narrow passage ways and tiny spiralling staircases with no hand rails, I made it to the Cupola of St. Peter's Basilica to be greeted by some pretty spectacular views.
After getting my fix of these awesome sights, I ventured back down to meet up again with Rob and we began exploring the incredible architecture of the church, mouths gaping in awe.

We then walked round to the Vatican Museum in order to see the Sistine Chapel. The Chapel was amazing, it was pretty mind blowing to think that all those years ago, Michaelangelo painted the ceiling in such vivid detail. It really was spectacular to behold. 
This isn't the Sistine Chapel, it is in the Vatican Museum. You aren't allowed to take pictures in the Chapel so I have none to show you, but Google has plenty!

The next day we hopped back on the tour bus and went to Villa Borghese, an area just above where we were staying, The park was huge and we rented what was called a Roscio and with the fear of God installed in me (it felt very wobbly and Rob was a terrible driver) we tore around the park for an hour.
As it was our last night in Rome we decided to head back to our favourite restaurant and area of our trip, Cantina e Cucina for more incredibly tasty food and drinks. The staff were as welcoming as we remembered and yet another free glass of wine was consumed while we waited a short while for a table. 

On the Monday our flight was not until evening so we took one last trip to the Spanish Steps and the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. It's always sad when a holiday comes to an end and Rome really did make us fall in love with it. I am already planning on taking my mum to Rome either next year or the year after (somebody give me a job, please!) My mum has always secretly wanted to visit the Vatican and seeing as she has only ever been to two countries, the Philippines (her native country) and England, I think she is more than overdue a trip to such a beautiful place, don't you? 

Have you ever been to Rome?

22 August 2012

Roma, Part One

The lovely English weather sure is easing the transition, but there is no denying that the post-holiday come down sure does hit you with an almighty thump. Four nights and five days in Rome were absolutely glorious, there is no other way to describe the experience. There is so much I want to write about but I reckon a five-part post would be pushing it just a tad. So here goes the first instalment of two about my time in Rome. 
The hype and promise from my students that Italy was all things wonderful only lead to ever increasing excitement and anticipation for our trip. After a short two and a half hour sleep, we awoke at 2:30am ready to depart for the airport. A sleepy Stansted greeted us and a short flight later, we stepped off the plane to be welcomed by Italy's morning heat. A swift 40 minute coach ride to Rome's city centre and we were well on our way to getting our holiday started!

Our hotel was wonderful. The location was perfect, just outside the centre of the city and within walking distance to metros and to most attractions as well. Our room was huge which was an extremely pleasant surprise and in the 36 degree + heat, the air con was a god send. The staff couldn't have made us feel more welcome, from the concierge to the reception desk; Bellesuite, we salute you. 

On day one we were absolutely shattered from our early flight but, not wanting to waste a second we headed out in search of the Trevi Fountain. A five minute walk from our hotel and we were immersed in tourists all enjoying the same admiration for this wonderful piece of architecture as we were. It really was amazing. Finding a little bar down one of the side streets, we sought some shelter from the midday sun and enjoyed our first refreshing taste of proper Italian beer. 

That evening we ventured back to the Trevi Fountain area and found ourselves a lovely little Italian restaurant and after a delicious dinner and a glass of wine, walked back to our hotel to catch up on some much needed sleep in preparation for day two! 

The next day was full of adventures! We found it extremely easy to walk to wherever we wanted to go in Rome (well, Rob did. I, one evening, went in search of shampoo and an hour later after roaming around lost eventually made it back to the hotel! It is safe to say that my sense of direction leaves something to be desired). And so, for the majority of our stay that is exactly what we did; we walked and soaked in every inch of Italian culture we possibly could. Friday was host to visits to the Pantheon, Roman Forums and the Colosseum.
The views and architecture were once again out of this world and the weather as always was beautiful. Exhausted as we were, we were eager to venture out once more in search of Italy's best Roman cuisine and we found it in the form of a gorgeous little restaurant just off of Piazza Navona called Cantina e Cucina. After consuming the tastiest Bruschetta, Carbonara, Pizza and Italian ice cream ever, we indulged in cocktails before enjoying the walk back to our hotel in the evening heat.

11 August 2012

I Covet Thee, A Summer Holiday

Next Thursday I will be boarding a plane to take me to Rome and with each passing day it is getting harder and harder to contain my excitement! Rome has been a dream in the pipeline for so long now and I can hardly believe that I will be enjoying its company in just a few short days. 

However, when it comes to summer clothes, I am really not too fussed. I love summer. I love the long days and hot weather and to be beside the seaside, but I just do not like buying summer clothes. English summers are so temperamental and short lived that I would rather save my money for when the long winter nights set in again. Nevertheless, with temperatures set to be a minimum of 35 degrees, what to pack and what to wear has been playing heavily on my mind..

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

I'm thinking loose-fitting dresses and tops and I really, really want some Levi cut-offs but they must be butt cheek covering as the world already has far too many butt cheeks on show by girls who have confused their pants for shorts and I just canny cope with it if I'm honest. So I am off to go charity shop shopping and find me some jeans to snip at before hitting up Eastbourne Airbourne and catching some rays. 

08 August 2012

Motel Rocks Street Style Team

It has been almost a year since I became and ambassador for high street brand Motel Rocks and it has been thoroughly enjoyable. From writing articles for my university newspaper to the Motel Rocks blog to hitting up London Fashion Week AW 2011 as part of the Motel Rocks team and gaining a few little treats along the way, I owe them a very big thank you for allowing me the privilege! 

Recently, I was contacted by Laura of Motel Rocks, manager of the new Motel Rocks Street Team, and was kindly asked if I would like to join the ever expanding Motel Rocks team. So of course I said yes! One of the perks of being part of this fantastic team is that I get to offer all my readers a whopping 20% off any order with Motel Rocks using the code above. Just enter 'melitakiely' at checkout and the pennies and pounds will come tumbling back into your bank account while their clothes make a pretty addition to your wardrobe. Not a bad deal, huh? 

06 August 2012

Ebb Or Flow, I Do It All

The past few days have been glorious. Friday brought an anniversary that I won't indulge into too much but, it shall always break my heart. Cue the best possible methods of comfort and I found myself being spoilt with a remedy of endless Harry Potter films and copious amounts of comfort food, which made an unbearable day became just about bearable.

Saturday brought some lovely weather to the sunshine coast where I currently reside, and with that a colourful lunch was consumed in the garden before Rob and I took pursuit of our first bike trip this year, soaking up some truly beautiful sunshine and sights.

One day, we will venture out early enough and be fit enough to complete the 14 mile cuckoo trail where these pictures were taken! (Gosh darn the crippling of bum cheeks that a cycle brings). There was a family of swans as you can see above, the baby cygnets so very nearly ready to shed their grey feathers. It was quite the sight and many a cyclist stopped to capture this happy little family.

Today was equally enjoyable when an impromptu day off work allowed me to spend some time with my family as we were entertained by the Moscow State Circus, who are in town this week. My mum, as always, was far too excited and nearly jumping out of her seat with excitement! I think she enjoyed it more than my 9 year old brother did, by far. 

02 August 2012

Guess Who's Back, Back Again..

I did contemplate opening this post continuing the little rap in my title, but in all honesty I am not quite ready to pop my vlog cherry just yet and let's face it, that is a level of painful embarrassment that nobody needs to be subjected to. It has been well over a month since my last post and boy oh boy have I missed writing. Life has thrown me some wonderful curve balls over the past 5 weeks or so. For one thing, I found out that I received a 2.1 for my degree and with that came the glorious day that was Graduation.
Graduation was an amazing experience, I felt so privileged to celebrate my degree in the beautiful building that is Canterbury Cathedral. It was great to be able to show my family a little of the city that I love so much and to see my mum standing up to cheer as I received my degree, just bursting with pride! We had both waited an awfully long time for this day and I owe everything to my mum for helping me get there. It was amazing to see her so happy for it really was just as much her day as it was mine.
My absence has mainly been down to working so bloomin' hard. Since the end of June I have been working for a local language school teaching English to foreign students and doing activities with them. The students were amazing to work with and it was a hell of a lot of fun, but also incredibly challenging and exhausting. (It only hit me how hard I have been working and how stressed I have been when I found a dreaded grey hair this morning, I kid you not).

So thank goodness I have 5 days in Rome to look forward to in 2 weeks time! I have been dying to go  to Italy for so long, and hearing about so many different beautiful places from the Italians amongst my students just made me even more desperate to get out there and see this beautiful city. I am counting down the days until I get to fall in love with what is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And stuff my face with lasagne 3 times a day. If anybody can recommend any hidden gems that I should check out while I'm there, please do let me know!

I am also incredibly excited that it is merely a month tomorrow until I start my journalism course! I cannot wait, I have been itching to get back to learning and to get my first foot in the door towards a career that I am certain I will love!

So until then I am going to enjoy a little time off. I am going to get my running shoes back on once I get rid of the disease that has plagued my school, read a lot, hopefully soak up a little English sunshine and blog a little more along the way.