Thought of the Day: Back to Basics

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful festive period where you ate lots and spent time doing things you wanted to do. I spent time with my extended family – it was loud but full of laughter – managed to play Cards Against Humanity for the first time too!

After the festive period and now that I am also back at work, I am starting to reflect on 2018. As the Pineapple Chicken blog has developed, it has also grown with me as a person and I have used this platform to discuss topics that often plagued my mind. Previously, I touched upon the topic of life leverage and also publicly recognising my introversion.

These were important lessons this year, by understanding my introversion, I focused on ways that could take advantage of this and changed how I navigated the world so that I was not always in a constant “struggle” or “conflict”. By learning life leverage and considering it as a concept, it has made me think of life management in a different way.  This is an ongoing journey, which I am very excited about and I hope I can continue to share with you “life hacks/tips” that I have found helpful (or not helpful)!

Back to Basics (1)

2019 is nearly upon us and I want to prepare for the upcoming year so that it differs from the last. My boyfriend has done his round-up for his year and touched upon a very interesting topic – back to the basics list.

Go back to basics, start again with those hobbies and interest by organising your life around the things you love to do.

So using him as leverage this time around, this is my response to his post. I actually found this task very difficult, partly because I have loads of interests and don’t like being narrowed down to 4! But also, I think it is important that what I love to do also aligns to my priorities too. After hours of pondering, here is my list:

  1. Healthy lifestyle – whether this is working out, recovering mentally, or eating well. Finding workouts and healthy foods I actually enjoy would be a good start I think 🙂 [Aligns with Health and Confidence priority] 
  2. Reading – I love learning and reading is my favourite way of doing that. It is also my way to wind down after a long day, so I am hoping that I will continue this good habit that I have built this year. [Aligns with Knowledge priority]
  3. Blogging – this has become very important in my life. I have found my blogging journey (though erratic) very therapeutic and has grown into something really positive, so I am definitely keeping this up! [Aligns with Creativity and Communication priority]
  4. Positivity/Balance – is this a hobby or even an interest? Even if it is not, I am going to make it so! The focus for 2019 will be on how I can bring positivity to my life and finding the right balance between priorities and personal wellbeing. [Aligns with Freedom priority and pretty much everything else]

Now looking at it, it seems a rather daunting task; particularly the “Healthy lifestyle” but I think it will be good for me in the long run. I really encourage you to think about what you love and makes you happy. Clear out a space, sit back and reflect. You might be surprised how much you will enjoy the process.

Let’s see how well I stick with these 4 things in 2019!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

 

 

 

Art: Shape Shifters

Hi Everyone,

How are you all doing? I have had a rough start to the week, unfortunately, I was down with a cough which then developed further to a very sniffly cold. On cue – the world’s smallest violin plays hehe! However, it did not stop me doing something to lift my spirits last weekend. Nothing is better than a bit of contemporary art!

The Hayward Gallery is one of my favourite art galleries in London and, so far, I love the exhibitions they have held. My previous visit was to see Lee Bul and this time it was to see their latest exhibition Shape Shifters – which is a major group show bringing together sculptures and installations that explore perception and space. It is available until the 6 January 2019 and I highly recommend a visit if you are in London. I thought it was one of the best exhibitions I have been to this year (possibly better than Lee Bul). Thus, scores 5 out of 5 pineapples!

The website has a very in-depth guide to a few of the key pieces, so in case you won’t be able to make it physically, hopefully, this post and the website would give you a good idea of what was there 🙂

The Favourite

WeltenLinie (2017) by Alicja Kwade

My personal favourite was the sculpture WeltenLinie (2017) by Alicja Kwade. I love art that is interactive and given that the whole premise of the exhibition was to explore space in a different way, this piece did just that! I was very confused with my surroundings when walking around the various mirrors and frames. It made the viewer engage with the sculpture (no touching, of course) and invites you to wander around in order to get a different perspective. True masterpiece.

“Using double-sided mirrors and carefully placed, paired objects, the artist achieves the illusion of sudden and surprising material transformations”

The Famous

20:50 (1987) by Richard Wilson

Probably one of the most famous piece in the exhibition was the installation 20:50 (1987) by Richard Wilson. I had the pleasure of seeing this piece of work about a decade ago whilst on a school trip and the memory was just as vivid as I saw it again. You will smell the artwork before you see it as his installation uses engine oil to create an “infinite” black surface. This acts as a giant mirror and whilst walking down the narrow pathway to the middle of the piece, it completely distorted my senses. You feel submerged as if the sound has also been swallowed into the oil and you are all alone. Truely an experience!

“The surface of the dark, dense substance mirrors the space above it and creates for the viewer the vertiginous impression of being suspended within a curiously doubled and seemingly infinite environment.”

Tip: The installation is right at the end of the exhibition on the top floor of the gallery. I recommend once you enter the start of the exhibition to take the stairs on the right and climb all the way up to the top of the stairs. This will lead you directly to the queue for Richard Wilson’s piece.

It is (understandably) popular and the website states a wait can be up to 1.5hrs long at peak times. Even when I arrived at 11am on a Sunday morning (first slot of the day), the queue was already a 20-minute wait; so I recommend getting there early!

The others

Notable other pieces include:

Have you had a chance to visit? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

 

Thought of the Day: Introvert’s guide to Christmas

Hi Everyone,

How are you all? Are you excited for Christmas? Or already tired of the never-ending versions of “All I want for Christmas is You!”?

For someone like me, who is quite introverted, all the Christmas parties and festivities are a significant drain on my overall energy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that everyone is cheery during this time of year. It is because they are likely taking a long break away from work.

I have just survived my team and office-wide Christmas parties. Our team is roughly 60 people and I know them relatively well, so I didn’t have to engage in any dreaded “small talk”. On the other hand, the office-wide one with 700+ individuals, now, that was a shocker. I did not try to engage with anyone I didn’t know. Not very festive but it was just too overwhelming.

After these two parties, I was thinking – surely, there must be something on the internet that might be able to provide some helpful tips to help manage the festive season. I have a few family events coming up, which I am dreading. I love my family dearly but there is quite a few of us. They can also be quite energetic whereby I end up crashing and burning. I am sure that there have been a few occasions where I have just broke down and cried because I was so tired from the interactions. Note, I do not drink alcohol so I couldn’t really drink my problems away… (also, probably not the best advice either!)

I was seriously disappointed by the internet search results and I think that is a reflection of how introverts do not get the recognition they deserve. I completely agree with Susan Cain that society today is completely geared towards extroverts and that introverts need to find our own voices! Alas, this is a discussion for another day.

Whilst perusing Instagram, I found the below comic strip by @lizandmollie and I thought it was a great summary of what introverts end up doing at parties. My boyfriend would often be hiding in the kitchen having an in-depth conversation of his latest pursuits with or other worldly matters with one individual. I, on the other hand, often like to hide in the bathroom or play with the pet (if there is one). Are any of you introverts – what do you do to recharge at parties?

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp963dkhit8/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Pineapple Chicken’s Tips for Introverts to Survive Christmas

Having trawled through some suggestions and blogs from the internet, here is a summary of (hopefully helpful tips) to survive this festive season!

  1. Plan Ahead – I think information is key, I am much better at parties when I know what to expect. For example, I helped to plan our team’s Christmas party so I knew exactly who will be there and generally what to expect of the night.  Being an event organiser also meant I could excuse myself from conversations by acting like there is something that required my attention 🙂 I really try and avoid parties where I do not know anyone, I would prefer to have at least one or two friends with me at social gatherings. I also love dancing, so if I know that there will be good music, I would happily just dance the night away. In addition, this involves minimal conversations with others!
  2. Small Talk – If you find yourself in a situation where you have to make “small talk”, prepare a list of “open” questions beforehand; and choose a single person to speak to rather than a group. This is much easier and I find if you direct lots of questions to the individual so that they can talk about themselves (people love talking about themselves) you end up listening more rather than having to disclose anything about yourself.
  3. Time Out – As suggested above in the comic, make sure you build time for a break/recovery. This does not have to be long but make sure it is enough for you. Interacting with people takes a lot of mental energy and stamina, so try and find space in a quiet corner; probably in the kitchen, bathroom or even outside for some fresh air.
  4. Don’t overindulge with alcohol – I know, I know  – it is Christmas, booze is what it is all about and most people use it as a “social lubricant”. I personally do not think it is a good idea. This situation often leads to an individual losing control, and personally, this often causes even more anxiety!
  5. Exit Strategy – This probably links to tip #1; have an exit strategy. I have planned ahead in the past, where I let the host be aware that you would love to attend the party but would be unable to stay late because of a “deadline” or “other commitments” early the following day. Perfect excuse and managing expectations too! Just in time to back to your cosy bed for some peace and quiet.

I hope the tips work for you. Do you have any tips that you have tried in the past that worked? As always, I would love to hear from you!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Art: Oceania

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great weekend. I finally have visited an exhibition in London, I believe it has been several months since I visited a museum – so glad that I am back on it 🙂 Going to museums and galleries is my favourite activity, I find it therapeutic yet stimulating. This is one of my key recovery tasks. My boyfriend has always encouraged me to do what I love and always challenges whether I have thought about “life management” properly; do read his blog more on this concept.

People have often called me a sponge (or a nerd) because I just love soaking up new facts and learning about things. It often doesn’t matter on the subject matter either. I have started to recognise that this is one my core passions/values and will be a key focus in 2019.  I will touch upon this in a future post as I have been doing a lot to try and understand my “why“.

Image result for map of oceania

http://www.freeworldmaps.net/oceania/

Oceania

I asked some of my followers on Instagram which exhibition I should visit next for the blog and Oceania proved to be a favourite. Unfortunately, the 10 December (today) is the last day at the Royal Academy of Arts. However, I thought I would share with you some photos that I took from the exhibition and what I saw you are able to enjoy it through my eyes. The exhibition trailer is also awesome so do check it out because it showcases a few key pieces.

It was a truly amazing exhibition because I realised that I had no previous knowledge of Oceania history, culture, and art. I would give it 4.5/5 pineapples. It was a great introduction to the variety of rich and diverse cultures in that region. The exhibition has now encouraged me to read more on this part of the world. If anyone can recommend a good book, I would be grateful as my 1-minute search didn’t really come up with much.  I bought the Oceania book from the RA as it seems to be a good starting point. For those who also want to have a look, RA is currently having a sale on the book and the paperback version is only £13. [Not an ad – just really loved the exhibition]. I am also considering whether I should do a course on Anthropology because of it! What do you think?

The Economist’s 1843 magazine also wrote an in-depth review of the exhibition with greater detail on the artists and history, which is a great short read.

Hope you enjoy the photos! Did any of you manage to check it out?

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Lifestyle: RedTribe Beadwork

Hi Everyone,

How is everyone doing this week? Did you all enjoy a great weekend? I cannot believe that we are already in December – such a wonderful time of year. People tend to be a bit more festive in London and I think a chance to reflect on the year that has passed. It is also a time of giving.

This post is written about something that is close to my heart, as well as a chance to help my readers who looking for a thoughtful Christmas gift this period. For some of you who follow me on Instagram, might have known that I flew to Africa for the first time in early November. I landed in Nairobi, Kenya to visit a remote Maasai community. Working with a local charity – RedTribe, my colleagues and I have had an opportunity to support them on their school project. We were visiting to see how we can support them in the future and engage with the community.

I won’t be delving into the trip too much here as this post will go on for hours. However, I wanted to highlight the amazing work RedTribe Beadwork has done to empower marginalised women in the Maasai community. It is an incredible project with one widow and £10 worth of beads. The designs are created by Becca and are inspired by the Maasai. With the profits generated, it is able to provide a sustainable income for women and their families as well as pay the salary of a female teacher at the school.

Beadwork

I had an amazing opportunity to visit these incredible women and watch them work. Every individual had suffered adversity but have managed to survive and push through. It was such a humbling experience and it was so encouraging to know that these women have been given a chance to change their future in a sustainable way.

Personally, I love the designs of the jewellery. I have found them to be contemporary yet distinctive enough without the risk of cultural appropriation. I bought several earrings whilst I was there and I wear them every day! The tasseled ones are great for parties and a bit of glam!

For those are interested and want something a little different this Christmas, you can find the online shop here. Would love to hear your feedback!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Travel: Porto

Hey Everyone!

I hope you are having a great weekend, I am very excited to give you a summary of my weekend trip away to Porto. It was a bit of a whirlwind, where I landed on a Friday afternoon and back by Sunday late evening. I love these sort of trips thoigh, just a little adventure for the soul or sometimes a nice way from work without the inbox getting out of hand.

As always, I try to cram as much in as possible, so here is a quick run through of a few places, food and tips!

Where we stayed

I decided Eurostars Porto Centro because the location was so close to all the various key spots. Though the hotel didn’t offer much in terms of a view, the hotel was small enough to feel intimate and not super corporate. The rooms were big and clean. Highly recommend and very reasonably priced.

What we visited

Porto São Bento, is a wonderfully beautiful station with the classic Portuguese blue and white tiles. A great place to walk through to take a quick picture. Though beware, all other tourists will be doing the same. Despite this, I found the afternoon light particularly beautiful as it streamed through the glass windows, so worth a visit.

McDonald’s Imperial – hear me out, I am not saying you have to order but the restaurant is so beautiful with chandeliers and art deco designs. Worth a little snap too and a milkshake hehe.


Museu Serralves is really worth the trip. I took an uber there as it was a little outside the city centre. It was this beautifully spacious and serene space with gardens as well. There were many photo opportunities. I would highly recommended it to anyone interested in art and architecture. Though just to note, the shop is pretty expensive, so I recommend looking for souvenirs elsewhere if you are on a budget.

Dom Luís I Bridge is the iconic bridge of Porto, one cannot go to city without a little close up of this structure. The walk along the river was beautiful if only it wasn’t grey and raining when we went…beware, there are also a lot of seagulls with paritularly good aim! Do look out for some footage from my boyfriend on his Instagram.

Casa da Música is this amazing contemporary structure. I am so glad I visited. I got nice and close for this shot. There was a cute cafe inside for a place to rest ones feet. According to my sister, their cookies are awesome – so a thumbs up!


Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and with its majestic stairs is regarded as one of the most beautiful too. However, at €5 per person to enter (though you can use it to set off against a book purchase) one has to weigh the economic benefits. I went in since I have come all this way, but there were so many tourists that I could not take a picture I was happy with. I do recommend anyone to get there extra early because by lunchtime the queue was so long it went down the street and round the corner.

You have to…

Go to Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pasteis de Nata for what I think is the best Nata in Porto. I had 3 just whilst was out there and still craving more. Perfectly gooey and with a hint of cinnamon. Nom.

Other Tips

  • Uber is in Porto – I found it a great way to travel around town, particularly because my sister was unable to walk far due to her knee injury. It was super convenient and because most places are relatively close to each other most trips did not go above €8 – I thought that was a bargain when shared between the three of us!
  • Uber to and from the airport – the metro was very convenient from the airport to the centre of town. However, I found the ticket machines annoyingly confusing. Despite selecting English, I failed to purchase multiple tickets in one go, so I had to complete 3 transactions for my boyfriend, sister and myself. The journey time is also much longer than if one took a taxi (50mins vs 20mins)! Time is precious on a weekend trip so I recommend an Uber 🙂
  • Do not go in November – though it was relatively quiet when we went, the weather was pretty miserable with a lot of rain… I recommend going in Spring as I can imagine it would be amazing by the port overlooking the Bridge 😍.

Have you been before? I would love to hear about your travel and travel trips!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken