Whilst this constitutional, undemocratic crisis is inducing waves of nausea and a lot of 'what the fuck', I transport my tired mind back to a Kölner balcony, on a late summer evening, with an ethereal golden light breaking through the broken clouds of a brewing storm. Sat on wooden chairs, drinking €2 sekt left in our apartment, drunk from the bubbles and happiness and the easy-going spirit of this city on the banks of the Rhein. Bliss. Peace. Contentment.
This was only yesterday. But after 2 trains, a plane and 2 coaches, it feels stolen from another life.
Cologne was a city of no expectation. Booked because flights were cheap, because time had run out to consider other options. Why are you going to Cologne? was the response of disdain.
But I would have spent 3 days no where else, with no one else.
It was replete with kölsch and cider and picnics on grass and beautiful churches and a very good friend. Art and pastries, sushi, laughter, content silence, German music, feminist literature, all drenched in August sun.
So different from other holidays, so different from other cities, it was relaxed and spontaneous, a welcome change from militant schedules nd rushed excursions.
I was, for once, happy wandering, letting the days drip away a little drunk, drifting between park and church, thrift shop and cafe, bar to bar.

Cologne itself is effortlessly cool. Its so German, a little rough looking, modern, edgy, aesthetic. Its bursting with cafes, bars, shops, restaurants, all of which you could spend hours perusing and consuming, especially in the Belgian quarter. Its quiet but bustling with locals, and is so friendly and welcoming of 2 girls who could say little more than guten tag. I think we even pulled off being German (maybe). Man, I already dream of wandering those streets again, searching out kaffee und kuchen, or our next bar, in the most effortless peace.

Highlights include:
Sitting in the apartment, and on the balcony, drinking, talking about boys (lol cliche), and Oxford, and our relationships with a mums, and whether we'd be happy to die now.
The Cathedral
St Martin the Great church
Reading feminist books by the Rhine, drinking cider and soaking up the sun
Breakfast on the first morning
Eating sushi
The first evening in Hiroshima-Nagasaki park
The sun 

I'd like to live in Germany, I think. Anywhere other than fucking Britain. Fuck. Me. I hope you're all holding out in this madness. Its unconstitutional. Undemocratic. But not unprecedented. Of course it was going to happen.
Transport yourselves to somewhere sunny, on a balcony reading, with no where to be, nothing to do, but be there. Present. Content.

a lot of feelings

Here are some musings that have been sitting in my insta saved for the past few weeks. I'm loving the rich warmth; it oozes late summer, something the weather isn't giving me much of lately.

Its been an anxious few weeks, riddled with a begrudging, relentless nervousness. Partly, the result of inherent existentialism, partly knowing I need to wind back up for another term, tackle my reading list, fearing I've already left it too late.
But I have found myself waking up in the middle of the night in a delirious and untameable fear. And, it sounds lame and perhaps virtuous, but I think much of this stemmed from a sort of sense of global disarray. I saw this post by Finn Harries, talking about 'eco-anxiety' and I resonated deeply with the helplessness and confusion. Recently, everything about the world has been making my stomach drop, inducing the claustrophobic nausea that colludes with my anxiety, and has made me panic. I've had to walk away from several dinner table conversations because I simply can't face the fear it ignites.
For me, 'eco-anxiety' is just one part of a much tighter ball of dread. Brexit, vote of no confidence, general election, Trump, Boris Johnson and his cabinet, anti-abortion laws, the protests in Hong Kong, the Epstein case and questionability of the judicial system, and everything else. 
Even writing this is making me sweat.
Maybe its my naturally restless disposition. I'm not kidding myself, I know there's little I can do, but it appears this feeds much of the monster. A sense that its crumbling, and there's nothing you can do. But also nowhere to hide.
It makes me most nervous because I don't understand it. Have so many questions, so much of it doesn't make sense, and I can't find simple answers. I feel helpless, query everything. The judicial system, the power of wealth to pay away allegations, the strength of democracy, the accepted 'goodness' of law enforcement.
I suppose I'm interested in how people are facing this? How are they managing to actually do something to change it, without hiding in the graceful pages of an oh comely magazine, or the indulgent mindlessness of trash tv and pretending the world doesn't exist. Perhaps avoid the news? But then I feel out of touch, in denial. I've been running a lot, which does quieten my head, as do my morning walks. Talking about the chaos helps, sometimes perpetuates.

Is a denial of tragedy and disarray worth a quiet mind, or do we all have a duty to participate in an awareness? How do you help the helplessness? Does everyone feel as lost and anxious as me?

Woah and breathe. That was a lot–I've been feeling a lot, and not really knowing what to do with those feelings. I've also been running a lot, spending a lot of hours at work drinking hot chocolate and gossiping, been day tripping despite having neither the time nor the money, and greatly anticipating my trip to Cologne next weekend.
Please answer my thoughts!

pics r from (left 2 right bitches): // // @momsgardenart // @evazurig // @mansfieldoxford (ok shameless plug of my college but LOOK!) // @sophievstheuniverse // @m_d_n_f // @ambivalentlyyours // @walter_7.3 (literally no idea who this is but i like the pic ok) // @depressingfridgepoems // @rossie_edenbrow // @charlotte.ager // @wearehundredclub // @we_are_food // @scottdunn_travel // @we_are_food // @ladyylivv


The rudimentary life lesson I am yet to master is slowing down. Too often I have almost burned out, from cramming in too much, and I have to tell myself to stop. Have to take any time off I can to breathe and catch up.
Such a mistake left me crying in my bathroom today, eyeliner streaming down my face, 10 minutes before I needed to run to work. I have already booked in a solo self-care day, dedicated to slowing down and recharging.
I say this as though I haven't been doing the sickest stuff, haven't been exploring new places, drifting on trains, indulging in art, sun, pizza. With good friends, good books, good music.
But it has been a lot, I think perhaps too much. I found I was so full on culture and sights and excitement I couldn't fully appreciate it all, felt almost numb, transient, exhausted.
A fiscally necessary return to work will no doubt ensure such a reversal, and I will be pining for something interesting in no time.

what i've done:
drank vodka lime sodas in my favourite bars after work, saw Vassia last minute, hated being a woman, sunbathed, failed at sudokus, drank wine, ate more tomatoes than my body could manage (ditto watermelon, bread and sorbet), caught 8 trains in 2 days, got stuck in the Venetian rain, fell asleep on my friends lap, drank €3 prosecco on the banks of the Grand Canal, ate a very expensive pizza (and complained about it profusely!), felt my absolute happiest in the Tuscan sun, got eaten by mosquitoes and played cards by candlelight.
Also spent 2 hours at home, travelled to Oxford, drank, swam, ate in copious amounts, laughed and cried on my train home.
Amazing, overwhelming, expensive, exciting, adventurous, indulgent, delicious, exhausting.

what i've read:
I finished Circe, of which the last 2 pages were beautiful (the rest perhaps didn't live up to expectation, but still v good), read How to Build A Girl (which was quick,  easy, risqué and exciting; perhaps a little too profane, but good fun) and Normal People (devoured in a day) (loved: soft, gentle and delicate compared to Caitlin Moran, compelling, challenging, consuming)
Also got my first Oh Comely in ages, and remembered how much I loved it, and began reading Eat Pray Love. Evidently I'm loving my femme-coming-of-age/self-discovery novels this summer.

what i've listened to:
some excellent stuff.
Max by Rebelliously Tiny; an informative and sensitive podcast on disordered eating. I thought it was fab; delicately negotiated but massively informative about their experiences, the realities of body shapes and weight, the perception and presentation of food (especially on social media) and the need to surround yourself with people who have good relationships. For me, it came at the time it was most needed, and contributed to a lot of thoughts I've been having about how we discuss and portray food and body size. Whether you have a good or bad relationship with food or ur body, would 10/10 recommend this, or any of her podcasts.

Also rlly enjoyed The High Low  which, despite covering current affairs and (mostly depressing) topical issues, remains super light and entertaining. They talk about such a variety of events and ideas, and is such a nice change from my usual radio 5 lol.

I also loved Hannah Witton's 'Dating Advice and Social Media Ettiquette' (from Doing It!), mostly because it told me I haven't found the 'right person' becuz I'm not ready which tbh just served to validate my adamant independence for a little while longer.

Also devoured Libby's spotify playlists (especially 'new shit good shit'), to dilute the choral music I still can't stop listening to lmao.

what i've seen:
stunning Byzantine churches, beautiful sunsets, an amazing exhibition on black women in art, a lot of sea, blurred landscapes, tourists looking at 'famous' art I couldn't see, clouds, narrow streets, orange buildings.

I could write more, but this is already enough.
Man am I yearning for some time alone. But also am I bursting with gratitude, and a confusing anxiety. Also, the above sounds idyllic and euphoric. It was, but it was also tainted with arguments and sleeplessness and a lot of anxiety, just like all aspects of normality.
Life is weird, and good, and a ceaseless mix of the two!