If I have to ask for your attention, then I don’t even want it.

Unknown  (via mediocremediocrity)

PREACHHHHHHHH!!!

(via mista-potta)


Jiancing Historic Trail (Taiwan) by T.-C.


This picture makes me want to tell a thousand stories.

Jiancing Historic Trail (Taiwan) by T.-C.

This picture makes me want to tell a thousand stories.

(via candy-shade)

If my love were an ocean, there would be no more land – PRIMARK

 

I got a delivery in the post from a much beloved sister who knows me inside out. The package was from the UK and full of Primark goodies. This will not be a big deal for anyone currently residing in the UK but I currently live in Canada and am forever tormented by the fact there is no equivalent to Primark here!!! Winners is not an equivalent.  It is nowhere near as good, on trend or cheap.

Some people can’t deal with shopping in Primark and I can understand why. You have to be in a specific frame of mind to shop in Primark, especially on a (suicidal) Saturday. I have even shopped in the Primark on Oxford Street on a Saturday…It wasn’t fun BUT it was so worth it, giving true meaning to the phrase ‘pain is gain’.

Even those who originally sniffed their noses at Primark are coming round to it, including celebrities. I always prefer to shop in thrift stores due to the sheer variety and the fun of putting together an outfit that you know no-one else has but Primark is one of my few exceptions. Working in retail has taught me that you love an item of clothing one day and hate it the next, therefore why spend riddculous amounts of money on something so fleeting and disposable unless it’s a truly classic piece? On top of that, the chance of spilling, ripping or losing it are pretty high. I might just be talking about my clumsy self now?

I am genuinely looking forward to visiting the UK. Primark (and I guess family and friends) are a big part of why. You truly do not know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Primark I miss you…

Nowhere and I mean nowhere repeatedly hooks me up like Primark, especially concerning matching bra/knicker sets. Big titty girls will feel me on this one. Oh and they now do clothes with Goslings face on.

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GET WHAT YOU’RE OWED – TAX RETURNS!!

I found the whole process of getting my tax money back quite perplexing but it’s actually piss easy. If you work and part of your earnings go to the Canadian government in the form of tax, then you are more than likely to be eligible to get that tax back!! You have been a good citizen/resident and now you are are entitled to get your paper back! You have until APRIL 30th to do so.

If you are a wiz with numbers, I’m sure you could save a couple of bucks and do it yourself. I on the other hand am not and opted to get someone else to do it for me and keep my stress levels to a minimum. Here’s what I did…

1. Collect T4′s from your employer. These should be available to you in February. I also kept my payslips but was told that I didn’t need them to claim my tax back.

2. You can also claim extra money back by saving the following things and bringing them with you when you go to get your tax returns done.

  • Metro passes
  • Rent receipts
  • Proof of medical expenses
  • Proof of charitable expenses

3. There are various places you can go to get someone to do your tax returns. The most well known one in Toronto is the H&R Block. There are quite a few dotted around Toronto (www.hrblock.ca/office/). For a basic tax return it will cost you $95. H&R block also keep 10% of your overall tax return, so I opted to go with Tax To Go instead (www.taxtogo.ca). There is only one office in Toronto, which is a bit far out but it is well worth it, as it only costs $45 and you get to keep ALL YOUR MONIES!

4. When I arrived at Tax to Go I literally did nothing but hand the lovely guy there my T4s and metro passes and let him do his thing. It took about 15 minutes and now I am set to receive a cheque in the post for $2318 in two weeks. Easiest money I’ve ever made.

Get it done ladies and gents!

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http://ndrika.com/
This video is all about the various ways you can find accommodation in Canada, not just Toronto. I’ve been getting a few questions about how I did it, so here it is just for you.

I talk about the more regular ways of finding accommodation and also the more hippie chic ways such as Couchsurfing and WWOOFING!

NO MAKE UP SELFIE

You’ve probably heard about the #nomakeupselfie craze by now. Seeing your female friends posting pictures of themselves on Facebook without any make up on is for one reason or another, very fascinating.

The viral phenomenon has been going strong since March 17 and it shows no signs of slowing down. Woman all over the UK have been posting bare faced photos of themselves on social media outlets accompanied by the hastags #nomakeupselfie and more recently #breastcancerawareness. It naturally became associated with Cancer Research UK and has currently raised over £2m for the charity in just a few days! Along side their selfie, people can encourage others to text BEAT to 70099, which will donate £3 to the charity.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the campaign. Commentators have argued that it is more about vanity than anything else,  i.e. “look how pretty I am without make up”. I feel that anything that can raise more than £2m for charity, whether it comes from a place of vanity or not, can still be viewed as beneficial.

I have even noticed my Canadian friends getting involved with the #nomakeupselfie, so it looks like it’s going global. Never ones to be left out, men have also become part of the campaign by posting pictures of themselves with make up on and using hastags to raise money for male associated cancers.

I personally think that the #nomakeupselfie has been so successful due to the sense of camaraderie that it rouses in women. Somewhat of a rebellious act against separating ones private face and ones public face or more literally, removing the mask that women wear every day.

The image of women in the media can be so artificial that a woman showing a picture of herself without make up is now considered groundbreaking! I find this crazy, but then think of how many pictures of myself I have on Facebook without make up and realise it’s probably no more than a handful. There is something intrinsically vulnerable about bearing all to the world and being open to judgment, so I commend these women for doing so and encouraging their friends to do the same.

Here’s one I made earlier

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SAYING GOODBYE TO WINTER

Today marks the first day of spring in Canada. Winter has officially (if not literally) been and gone. Thermals and layering to the point of immobility will soon be a thing of the past and that is truly something to be happy about. It also means we are one season closer to summer, which is supposed to be magnificent in Toronto. I can feel that the city’s inhabitants are eager for its arrival as well.

Good weather seems to warm people up from the inside out. I think REM wrote about the first days of spring when they sang “Smiley happy people holding hands”. It means no longer having to factor weather into your plans or cancelling your plans altogether. There is no excuse to hibernate and even as I write this I can feel the excitement of spring and all its potential bubbling up inside me.

Here are some things I am looking forward to this spring.

1. Going outside with no thermals or jacket

I have acquired a serious amount of spring/summer clothes that are waiting patiently in my wardrobe.

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2. Picnics in the park

PICNICS!!! Sun, strawberries, lemonade and sandwiches that never get eaten because they are squashed and gross. Chilling with friends on the grass or reading a book. All good things.

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3. Traveling in general

Traveling anywhere in the winter is a job in itself and a laborious one at that. Forgetting your gloves or scarf won’t even be an issue anymore!

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4. Patio bars

Sipping on a chilled cider, then another and another. Spending hours in a good Toronto patio bar in hot weather is a thing I have dreamt about for some time now.

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5. Camping

I LOVE LOVE CAMPING! Spring is actually better for this, as my innate fear of wasps means summer can often be too petrifying.

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6. Shopping

Get your thrift on now. Everyone is spring cleaning, so thrift shops are filled to the brim with new arrivals. Trust me , I know!

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7. Bike rides

Cycling is fun , even though the road systems in Toronto are a bit dodgy and dangerous. Never the less, renting a bike is cheap and fast, so it’s definitely on my list.

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8. Chilling on the porch

I have a porch at the front of my house. I daydream about sitting on our rocking chair, watching the world go by and reading a good book. This I’m sure will never actually happen.

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ST PATRICK’S DAY – MAY THE LUCK OF THE IRISH BE WITH YOU!

St Patrick’s day is one of the most widely celebrated days of the year across the globe, held annually on 17 March. It is celebrated on a huge scale by the Irish diaspora around the world; especially in Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

I went to the St Patick’s Day parade in Toronto with a group of friends and we managed to catch the dregs of it, which included the grand finale in the form of an elderly gentlemen sat atop a green pyramid looking thing, followed by an ambulance. Prepare for the worst I suppose.

The parade in itself was nothing to shout about, especially when compared to the Santa-Claus parade or other annual carnivals in Toronto but what came after the parade was well worth the wait.

Following the parade we headed to McVeigh’s Irish pub on Church and Richmond and for me, this is when St Patrick’s day really kicked off. There’s something about the lively pub atmosphere, warmth and blunt Irish banter thatcan not be recreated or imitated but makes for one hell of a time. Add to this an amazing live band, Irish dancing and a random Irish ‘oul fella’ teaching me to play animal ribs as a musical instrument (don’t ask), I felt like I had been mysteriously transported to Ireland and I was happy to be there.

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NOT GONE AND NEVER FORGOTTEN

During my year and 5 months in Canada, I think I found some fail safe ways to keep in touch with loved ones whilst still living your life, making new friends and having new experiences.  I could even go as far as saying that some of these relationships are even stronger than before. CRAY CRAY!

1. WHATSAPP

Who doesn’t love that little poo icon! Also it’s free (for now anyway). It’s instant messaging but you can send pictures and videos as well. I have recently started using something even better than Whatsapp called Line. You can make video calls for free on this bad boy, as well as do everything that you can do on Whatsapp; even the poo icon is better!

I love keeping in touch like this because I often send pictures to friends of things that remind me of them, like road names or food etc. It’s so quick and easy, there’s really no excuse not to.

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2. SKYPE

This is by far my favorite way of staying in touch. You can’t beat a bit of video action. It’s so much more personal than calling. I once showed a friend the contents of my entire wardrobe that I had collected in Canada, as we have the same fashion sense. She then proceeded to show me a cat, a ladder, her bum and drew a picture of me with her eyes closed. Now you can’t do that with a boring phone call.

Skype can get tricky when you put into consideration time differences. It’s always better to set up a ‘Skype Date’, so you know when to be around. I have friends and family in the UK, France, Mexico, Holland and New Zealand and although Skype can sometimes be awful quality, it really has been a godsend!

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3. GOOD OLD POST

I don’t use this one frequently, as the cost of posting something from Canada to anywhere in the world is ridiculous. It usually costs more than the thing I want to send. Saying that, there’s nothing like receiving a gift in the post and you don’t have to save this just for birthdays and Christmas.

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4. SOCIAL NETWORKING

Not my favourite way of staying in touch but when used with all the above methods, a bit of Facebook is great. Plus you can see first hand what your friends are up to. Who’s the new guy in their life? Where they’ve been on holiday etc. That’s lovely! Also those Pusheen cats that you can now send in messages are pretty priceless.

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5. YOUTUBE

I often send and receive videos from friends that are hilarious. It’s nice to know someone’s thinking about you, especially if they’re videos that you used to watch together.

My sister and I even plan to try and watch the new series of Game of Thrones together (a bit illegally) online via Skype. We’ll see how that works because she always used to talk through it but at least this way I can put her on mute.

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BASICALLY – It is possible to maintain friendships whilst away from home. It requires a bit more effort and commitment on both sides. I have made some amazing and life long friends whilst traveling but there will always be something about an old friend who knows you inside out and just gets you. Especially if you are going through tough times, which are bound to occur during traveling. It is great to have a loving support system that can make you laugh till you wee a bit, or take your mind off things by talking for hours on end about nothing in particular.

Treasure your friends and family, they’re pretty awesome!

HERE’S SOME OF MY SKYPE PICS – view more here https://www.facebook.com

1. Liz and laptop

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2. Ellen and Mr Fox

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3. Vi so happy

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4. Swag!

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5. Random Irish guy

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6. My lil’ shamrock

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7. Belgium beauty

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8. Amala in France

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9. Bet and my hometown glory

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10. The talented Lucy!

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11. Alicia on the mean streets of Dagenham

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DON’T SWEAT IT – THE SUN STILL DOTH SHINE!

I write this post in homage to the fantastical event that took place yesterday in Canada. Although it is currently snowing, yesterday, the one sun that shines on our dear planet did not bypass Canada. It actually took a moment to stop and glimmer on this beautiful country. I felt the touch of the sun’s forgotton rays on my bare skin and it reminded me that other seasons, bar winter, are still concievable.

During this long ass winter I have managed to collect a vast array of bad boy sweaters that (I hope) I will not be wearing for much longer. I have become quite a connoisseur in fact.

For those of you who like a good old print and some retro granddad chic, you will be amazed at a collection that can only be deemed possible via working at a thrift shop. For the rest of you – #learnsomething.

This is a post to show my appreciation for the knitwear that kept me alive this (LONG, LONG, LONG, ONGOING) winter. You’re more than welcome to post pictures of your lovely sweaters, especially if you think they can top mine!?!

Travelling through Canada making videos. Simples!! Join me, in a cyber way...

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