Love actually is all around…

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The chances are most people who read this will recognise the words above. They come from my all time favourite Christmas film- Love Actually.

Usually, I watch this film and feel the same every year- depressed that Hugh Grant is not prime minister, angry at Alan Rickman for cheating on Emma Thompson, and jealous of the love that Sam has for Joanna. Yesterday, when I watched it for the first time this year, I still felt all these things, but I also felt like the story took on a whole new meaning, precisely because of the words at the top of this post.

It is easy to look back on 2016 and see nothing beyond politics. It feels, at times, like all that has happened this year are Brexit and the US election. Whilst both were incredibly important events, and rightly deserved a significant amount of press coverage/time/conversations dedicated to them, the impact which they have had on society has arguably been less than positive. In the Brexit campaign, we had to listen to hours of scaremongering on both sides, countless low blows, and personal attacks. Times this by 10, add accusations of corruption and sexual abuse, and you’ve got the US election campaign. Neither events showed human nature in its best light, regardless of which side you supported, and both have, understandably, led to nearly 50% of the British and American population feeling disillusioned with the state of the world.

So, if you think about 2016 merely in terms of politics, it would be deemed by many people to be an ‘annus horribilis’. If you look at the media over the past year, it is also more than likely that you would come to this conclusion; newspapers hardly show the world in a very positive light, nor does the news. Even twitter seems to be turning into a world of negativity based around people’s political thoughts. These days, with the people at the top hardly setting a good example for us to follow, one could be forgiven for thinking that  we live in a world of hate.

Which is why it is important to look beyond the politics when thinking about this last year. Yes, they have played a dominant role, and the after shocks of the earthquakes will continue for years to come. But there has also been a multitude of positive things that have happened since January. Love them or loathe them, Britain got its second female prime minister, and we very nearly had the first female president (#GIRLPOWER). Scientists got closer to developing an HIV cure. The number of tigers increased for the first time in 100 years. Thanks to the ALS ice bucket challenge, massive strides were made in finding a cure for motor neurone disease.

A perfect example of being blinded by politics, I also nearly forgot that sandwiched between the referendum and the US election we had the Olympics in Rio.Whilst they may have been surrounded by controversy, nothing can take away from the respect, peace, and unity that the Games represent. All ethnicities, genders, religions, sexualities competing alongside each other, in one competition. I challenge you to watch the Olympics and still think of 2016 as nothing more than a year of hate stirred up by politicians.

And so this is where my favourite Christmas film comes back in to play. Of course, not all of us were involved, or even watched, the Olympics. But even in our own lives the same values are often existent. Like the taxi driver who only charged my £10 instead of £13 because that was all I had on me at the time. Or the little boy who I saw give his seat up for an old lady on the tube. Or the man who let me go in front of him in the Cafe Nero queue because I was carrying about 5 bags at once and was close to dropping everything on the floor.

Of course, I am not suggesting that we should all ignore everything that happens outside of our own little worlds. That would be ignorant, and quite frankly plain stupid. What I am suggesting, however, is that we take more time to appreciate the good, if small, things which happen on a daily basis. They might not be published on the front of every newspaper, and they might seem insignificant compared to events such as Brexit, but they do happen- every single day. I see them everywhere- in train stations, in coffee shops, on the street. And they should act as a reminder, especially at the end of this year, that human kindness, but more importantly love, is actually all around.

Some random facts about me!

I write blog posts every week, about things that I see, things that I do, and things that I’m just generally interested in. What I haven’t done yet, however, is write a blog post that is just about me. Not that any of you care, but I thought it might be fun to give you a few random facts about myself- to show you that there is more to me than food and hating clubbing!

  1. My full name is Megan Elizabeth Alice Frost. A bit of a mouthful I know. My nicknames include Meg/Megs/Meg Mog/Megsy.
  2. I am a big rugby fan. Not playing it (contact sports aren’t really my thing), but watching it. I support Saracens and I’ve been a season ticket holder there for the last 4 years.
  3. I love dogs- especially mine. Milo is a 4 year old black and white springer spaniel, and if you have me on snapchat then you will know that I am a teeny bit obsessed with him.
  4. I want to be a journalist. I’d love to either write for a magazine, or, in my dream world, present the news on BBC.
  5. I like exercising, as you will know if you read my blog post titled “why it’s time to get moving”…I think looking after our bodies is one of the most important things we can do, not just to keep healthy physically but also mentally.
  6. When I was younger my mum and dad let me have a go at everything- I danced, swam, played the violin, went to drama school, did horse riding, played tennis. As you can tell from the fact that I am now doing a history degree, and am not a pro violinist/dancer/swimmer, none of these things really worked out for me. All good for character building though!
  7. I work in Waitrose, and have done for more than 2 years. I’ve met some of my best friends through work, and I commute back from London for my shifts- so I must love it!
  8. I am the least fussy eater I know (except for my dad.) I don’t like to brag, but I’m not joking when I say that it’s one of the things I like most about myself. Choosing where to eat is never an issue, because I can guarantee that I will like/be willing to try almost everything on the menu. This does make actually choosing what to have difficult though- I’m always the last to order.
  9. I bite my nails. I have done ever since I can remember, and I absolutely hate it with a passion. I have tried everything to stop, and I have managed to for a maximum of about 3 months. But then something stressful happens (exams/deadlines etc), and the nail-biting returns with a vengeance. I am making a more concerted effort to stop now though!
  10. Following the hand theme, I also have an odd shaped thumb. I have no idea why this is, and neither do my parents. All I know is that it’s ugly (my sister has named it my ‘toe-thumb’, and I struggle to do things like take the hand brake off in my car sometimes. But hey, I’m all about accepting our flaws, and plus I don’t think thumb transplants are available on the NHS yet.
  11. I’m not really in to films unless I know what’s going to happen (weird, I know), but books, on the other hand, I LOVE. I could spend my life reading books.
  12. I love going to new countries. I am very lucky to have been to a lot of different places on family holidays, and I am so excited to see more of the world. Next on my list is to do a tour of European cities, and then I want to go to Vietnam and Cambodia. And then Thailand. And then back to America, and South America. Looks like I need to start saving now!
  13. I am a very family orientated person, and I love being at home, which is why I continue to work in Welwyn and go home every weekend. This might not work for everyone, and I might not be living the typical ‘student life’, but it works perfectly for me. In my eyes, I am very lucky to have the best of both worlds.

So there you go…some random facts about me! The person behind the blog:)

Why I need to learn to ‘go with the flow’

I would love to say that I am someone who appreciates every moment, lives for the day, and focuses on the present. But in reality, I do everything but this.

I am a compulsive planner. I can’t help it- everything in my life has to planned meticulously: what I’m doing, where I’m going, what I’m eating. My most used app on my phone is Notes, and every day I fill it with my plans for that day, the next day, and the day after that. I don’t know why I do it, I just know that if I don’t, I feel stressed, my brain feels almost ‘fuzzy’, and I find it hard to concentrate if I don’t have a plan in place. In this sense, my obsessive need to be organised is a good thing: it helps me stay calm, it means I’m never late for anything, and it means that I never really forget things.

BUT, on the flip side, it also means that I am never really focussing on the moment- I’m always looking forward, always thinking about what’s happening next, so much that I’ve realised that I’m not actually appreciating all of the little things that make life good on a day to day basis. I struggle to appreciate the moment, because I’m always thinking about the next one, rather than the one happening RIGHT NOW. Which is really the only one that matters.

The thing which inspired me to write this post was a video I shared on Facebook from Children in Need. It told the story of a family who lost their daughter to a rare genetic disorder, and then 2 years later lost their son to bone cancer. Whilst making me cry (I very rarely cry), the video also made me realise how important it is to focus on the present. Their story, aside from being unbelievably heart breaking, was also a very real reminder that no-one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. No matter how much planning I do, I  can never predict what is going to happen. The horrific plane crash involving the Brazilian football team which happened on Monday night is another, very real, and very sad, example of this. We never know what is round the corner.

Whilst this is scary (especially to me-who likes to think that I can control everything), it has also made clear that I need to start focussing on all the good that’s in my life on a daily basis, instead of always thinking about what’s happening next. What I’m going to do tomorrow can be decided tomorrow- it’s what I’m doing right now that is important.

So, from now on, I am determined to start appreciating every day a little bit more. I’m not going to be able to give up planning completely (old habits die hard), but I am going try to focus on the present, and to go with the flow.

Megan x

PS. I’ve just realised this post probably makes me sound like a psycho. I promise I’m not.

 

Why it’s time to GET MOVING

On Monday I read an article in the paper which made me angry (actually I read lots which made me angry…but no-one wants to read a blog post about Donald Trump). The headline of this article read…

“British children in bottom of world fitness league”

This fact, whilst it angers me, is not surprising. Today, children are brought up watching T.V., playing computer games, and looking at iPad screens. I am sure that these are all fantastic ways to keep children occupied, but the fact is they are doing serious damage to the physical and mental health of today’s youth.

Exercise is something which I am passionate about- I was never the ‘sporty’ type (that was always my sister’), and until the age of about 15, I wasn’t particularly interested in exercise at all. Since then, however, thanks mainly to my Dad, keeping fit has become an integral part of my daily life. I go to the gym 4 times a week, do Pilates in my uni room, and walk to and back from uni every day. I am not by any means trying to paint myself as some kind of exercise Goddess- I am far from the fittest (5km is plenty, thanks), or the strongest, but I exercise because it makes me feel like a better version of myself. When I exercise every day, I feel strong, healthy, and my mind feels clearer. If I’m stressed, I know that exercising will help me relax. It is the one thing I make time for every single day, because if I don’t do it, I feel rubbish. Exercising plays a big role in my positive outlook on life, and, for me, it is the best medicine.

And whilst I’ve focused on the effects that exercising has on my mental health (exercise is proven to help with depression), there is also an abundance of physical benefits too. Decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cutting the risk of strokes, cancers, osteoporosis. Obviously, it is not conclusive to say that if you exercise you definitely WON’T get these things, but it certainly won’t do you any harm.

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Somehow exercise is easier when this is your view…

SO…when I read the above headline this week, it made me angry because, as I’ve just shown, exercising has SO MANY BENEFITS, and there are SO MANY different types. This country offers an almost infinite amount of different physical activities- everything from football and tennis to Zumba and aerobics on a trampoline (who knew?!). There is literally something for every person, regardless of age or gender, or ability.

This then begs the question- why on earth are our youngest generation at the bottom of the global fitness league? As one of the most developed countries in the world, this fact is, quite frankly, shameful. We should be bringing these children up to love exercising and being outdoors- not in an obsessive, “I want to look good” way, but because it could (almost certainly will) help them to become happier, healthier people.

Which is why the title of the blog is “Get Moving”. I don’t care if you never read any of my blogs again, or if you tell everyone that I’m talking nonsense. If I can persuade ONE MORE PERSON to do a little bit more exercise, even if it’s 30 minutes, 15 minutes, even 5 minutes (it’s better than nothing!) a day, then I will be a happy girl:)

Megan x

PS. I’m always happy anyway, I’ll just be even happier.

 

I realised that, having made a massive deal about how much I love food in my first blog post, the subject has been strangely absent from my posts since then. Seeing as I spend the majority of my time eating/looking at/thinking about food, I feel like this needs to be changed- especially as I have eaten SO MUCH good food in the last couple of weeks.

  1. Bill’s (twice in a week!)

I LOVE Bill’s- I love the atmosphere in the restaurants, I love the menu, and the food itself is sooooo good. It might not be as cheap as some places, but I am a big believer in the motto “you get what you pay for”, and I have always thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve ordered from there.

On my first visit with my sister, I ordered the Paprika and Lemon Chicken with roasted caramelised root vegetables. This is essentially a (massive) butterflied chicken breast, pan fried, with super crispy skin and the most amazing humus style dressing. My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. SO. GOOD. Lydia had the burger, and she said it was one of the best she’s ever had (she’s sampled a lot of burgers).

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My second visit to Bill’s was with Annie, and we went to the Holborn restaurant. We both ordered cocktails (which we had vouchers for- WIN), and we also both had one of their Watermelon juices, which are so yummy. Seriously, if they sold bottles of it I would be drinking it all day.

This time, I ordered the Seasonal Allotment Salad, which is part of Bills’ ‘heritage’ range. Genuinely, this was one of the best salads I have ever eaten. It had an orange cumin dressing, and was filled with seeds, beetroot, and dried cranberries. Absolutely delicious. Annie ordered a selection of starters/side dishes as a kind of tapas meal, which is perfect if you can’t decide what to have.

Rating- 10/10!!! No complaints whatsoever.

2. Mae Deli

If you are a fan of superfood/healthy eating, then it’s more than likely that you will have heard of Deliciously Ella- a food blogger turned millionaire who advocates a completely natural, vegan diet. She’s recently opened two delis in London, and, as ‘celebration for getting to reading week’, Charlotte and I decided to visit the one near Bond Street station. After trekking half way across London to get there, we finally made it, and it was 100% worth it. The decor is so cute, and the food itself was delicious. I had vegetable soup (don’t be put off by the colour!), and Charlotte had one of the delis ‘Mae’ bowls, which is basically a big bowl which you fill with four of the freshly made salads. Lets just say I had serious food envy.

Rating-7/10- Whilst the food was delicious, there isn’t much choice on the menu, and the prices are high. HOWEVER, I did leave feeling perfectly satisfied, and a teeny bit smug about how healthy my lunch was.

3. My own cooking..

As a health-conscious student living on a budget, I have recently started making ‘wrap’ pizzas. These are essentially a tortilla, covered with tomato puree, and any other toppings which you fancy. They’re super cheap, easy, and take 15 minutes from start to finish. PLUS, they’re also really healthy.

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One of my wrap pizzas…a wholemeal tortilla topped with low fat cheese, ham, peppers, spring onions and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and mixed herbs.

PS. Charlotte and I also went to the Good Food show last week. It was LITERALLY my idea of heaven…tastings left right and centre, Paul Hollywood, and a WHOLE DAY based around food. What more could anyone want? It was genuinely a really, really good day, and if you love food then I would definitely recommend it. You don’t even need to buy anything (all we bought were fancy peelers!), it’s just fun to go and sample all the food!

Megan x

A post dedicated to my besties (because they asked me to)

When I published my first blog post, the first thing my girls asked me was “can you write one about us?”- at first I wasn’t exactly sure if any one other than them would enjoy reading about my lovely, but slightly dysfunctional, friendship group. And then I realised that, as this is a blog about me, it only makes sense to write a post about 6 of the most special people in my life.

Me, Amy, Chloe, Paige, Erin, Charlotte and Sophie have been best friends for over ten years. We met when we were in primary school, and by the end of year 6 we’d formed a pretty close knit group. That was 8 years ago, and, somehow, different schools, boyfriends, jobs, and arguments (lots) have not stopped us from being friends. Even now, with us all either at uni, college, or working full time, we still speak all the time, and when we’re together (which doesn’t happen anywhere near as often as I’d like), it feels like nothing has changed, which is part of the reason why I think we’ve been friends for such a long time. We all appreciate the fact that we all have other things going on in our lives, and we make time for each other when we can. This is why I am so lucky to have them; I know that no matter how long I go without seeing them, nothing will change, because we know each other inside out. We have literally grown up together- I can name all of their ex-boyfriends, all of the people they’ve kissed (we actually made a game of this once), and I know all of the foods which they hate (Erin-everything, Charlotte-salt and vinegar and ketchup, Amy-cheese). I know all of their parents, their pets, and I know the way to their houses with my eyes shut.

Obviously, there’s more to our friendship than boys and food (although this is the topic of conversation 90% of the time). I love that I can always count on them for advice, for support, or just to laugh with me at something funny. When something happens to me that is even slightly out of the ordinary (which is not very often), my first thought is always to send it in our group chat, where I know I’ll get at least one (hopefully) reply. It is a massive comfort to know that even when I am in London, sometimes feeling a little bit lonely and lost, I can message my girls. It’s like having 6 friends with me all the time- because although they might not be with me physically, they are with me-either on my phone or in my heart.

Obviously, we all have issues, and our friendships are by no means perfect.We argue, we wind each other up, and we all have little things which get on each other’s nerves. But the point is that we love each other anyway IN SPITE of these, and because after more than ten years, we’ve learnt to see beyond them.

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Of course, I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have such a close knit group of friends, and not everyone needs one. Plenty of people are content with just one or two really close friends. But for me, having my 6 girls around me makes me feel safe- it’s like a comfort blanket, I know they are always there- as my support network, my wing women, and my own personal comediennes. Without them, I would, literally, feel lost.

So, to finish, the point of this article is not to massively inflate the egos of my wonderful best friends (although I’m sure I have succeeded in doing so). It’s to show how SPECIAL friendship is. I feel like today, in our world dominated by social media, real life friendship- the belly-laughs, know each other’s secrets, tease each other constantly kind, is underrated. It’s been replaced by a new, virtual kind, where no-one really knows each other and friendships are built on instagram likes and edits. And these might fill the gap for a little while, but will ultimately never be a substitute for a friendship which is built on real life memories, trust, and (in our case definitely) arguments. This is why I think it’s so important to treasure your friends; whether it’s meeting for a coffee, FaceTiming, or even just sending a text- just knowing that you have people to lean on can be so comforting. And, in difficult times, having REAL friends to talk to is a lot more reassuring than speaking to a faceless ‘friend’ on the internet.

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BEST HOLIDAY EVER

So girls- this one’s for you. In spite of how much you bully me, I am more grateful for you than  you know. Thank you for all the memories so far, and here’s to making millions more-Ladyboys forever xxxxxxxx

Megan x

A fresher who hates clubbing…(read on if you’re confused)

I am a fresher who hates clubbing. Nope, that’s not an oxymoron, I genuinely do not enjoy clubbing. At all. It’s claustrophobic, you can’t actually hear to speak to anyone, it’s easy to lose your friends and to top it all off  (from a student point of view), it’s SO EXPENSIVE! If you’re a student and can afford to pay £4.80 for a single vodka and mixer then I bow to you, but for the majority this isn’t the case. So there you go- clubbing, in my experience, leaves you alone, deaf, and in debt. Obviously I am exaggerating here; there is, evidently, an abundance people who love clubbing (hence the massive crowds), and in this lies the problem. At uni, it is unbelievably easy to feel as though you have no choice BUT to go clubbing. With club nights every evening of Freshers’ Week, and almost every person you’ve met going, you can be made to feel that if you DON’T go you’ll be missing out on the vital ‘getting to know each other’ stage and will end up at the end of the race to make as many friends as possible. Well, A) it’s not a race, and B) I can say from personal experience that NOT going clubbing does not put at any kind of disadvantage in terms of making friends.

As a well known “club hater” (ask any of my friends), I only went clubbing twice in Freshers’ week, and both resulted in me wishing I was in bed less than an hour into the night. That’s not because I had bad company, but just because I’m not a fan of the atmosphere inside a club. Each time, I ended up asking myself the same question: why am I here when I KNOW that I don’t like clubbing? And the answer, both times, was pressure. Not pressure from any one specifically- it was entirely my own choice to go out both times- but just pressure to fit in, pressure to conform to standards which don’t really exist anywhere except in our own heads. And so really, this post is about more than just my personal hatred for clubbing. It’s about why young people, in fact all people, feel the need to do things which we don’t actually enjoy doing just because society has made us think that we should. Which, if you think about it, is ridiculous. I love all of my flatmates, and I have lots of friends on my course- none of whom I have met through clubbing.

And so, I am making a pledge to myself that as of now, I will no longer spend £10 on a ticket to a club unless I KNOW that I am going to have fun, because it will inevitably result in leaving early and having to pay a ridiculous price for a taxi fare. I am no longer going to stress that people will find me ‘boring’, or ‘uncool’, just because I don’t go out every night, because at the end of the day if people can’t except that that’s who I am, then they’re not really people I want to be friends with anyway. And this is something that I encourage everyone to do, whether it’s clubbing that you don’t enjoy, or sport, or wearing what society considers “normal”. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. Life is too short to spend time doing things which don’t make us happy.

Megan x

Food. food. and more food.

So this is my first ever blog post! AH! Excited/nervous doesn’t even cover it!

If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I am a massive foodie, so I thought it would make sense to write my first blog post all about nothing other than FOOD! I mean, there really couldn’t be a more ideal place for me to be living than London. I haven’t even been here a month yet and already I have come across enough new food places to try to feed me for the rest of the term!  As well as the obvious chains (which don’t get me wrong- I love), I have also found countless cafes, markets, and restaurants that I want to try, so you are likely to be seeing a lot of posts like this one!

MY ‘FAVOURITE FIND‘ SO FAR…

For my very blog post, my ‘Favourite Find’ involves a place which is known amongst UCL students for serving the ‘best lunch in London’ on a Thursday.
BLOOMSBURY FARMER’S MARKET

WHERE:Torrington Square / Byng Place, behind UCLU, WC1E 7HY

WHEN: Thursdays, 9am-2pm

WHAT I ATE: There is so much good food on offer here. Stalls serving everything from Italian pasta, to Indian, to big juicy burgers. In the interest of being healthy, I chose a vegan falafel wrap, with humus, lettuce, and pickled red cabbage. SO GOOD.

PRICE: £5…more expensive than a meal deal from Boots, but fantastic quality and kept me full all afternoon.

RATING: 8/10…delicious, but could have done with some more humus (personal taste).

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My first ‘Favourite Find’

Obviously, for someone on a student budget, it’s hardly feasible to be eating out every day, so I’ve also been doing a lot of cooking (See pic below for an example of my culinary skills), and I’ve already become a pro at savvy food shopping!

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Chicken, spinach, and new potato hash…£1.90 per portion.

PS. I’m not a vegan…I just love vegan food as well as every other type of food.

P.P.S. My next blog post is about life as a first-year when you HATE clubbing. Yep, that’s me. The only student ever to not like clubbing (not really, but sometimes it feels that way)