Be Right Back

To my dearest readers,

I hope you are all having a wonderful day so far. This post is to apologise that I won’t be blogging in accordance to my schedule this week. *Drum roll* This is because I will be moving in with my boyfriend! Ahhhhhh!

I am very excited but packing has, unfortunately, taken over my life as I try to #konmari all my stuff at the same time… This might also explain the countless sleepless nights where I dream of boxes and home organisation items from IKEA. All very bizzare!

Though on that note, would you like to know more about my Marie Kondo journey? Please do leave me a comment below if you do!

I haven’t had the headspace to write meaningful blog posts that you have all come to enjoy. I will resume our usual blogging schedule next week Thursday. Thank you for being so patient and understanding! You are all wonderful 🙂

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

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

Lifestyle: Richmond Park

Hi everyone! Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. As promised, this post will cover my “David Attenborough” moments at Richmond park. I do apologise that this is being posted later than I had hoped! I have spent the week catching up with very dear friends after work. Though it was much needed, it didn’t leave me much time to blog! On the bright side, there will be some exciting food reviews coming up, which I can’t wait to share with you all!

Opening hours and transport

Though having lived in London all my life, last weekend was the first time I visited Richmond Park. To be quite honest, I am an idiot for not having gone sooner. It is surreal that we have such a beautiful nature reserve on our doorstep. Being a north London girl, it is rare for me to venture to the south west of London, but I would advise anyone who needs a break from the bustling city to wander around Richmond Park, it is great for the soul.

A big shout out goes to @lilbigmovement, as he dragged me from my bed at 6:00 am so we could reach Richmond Park at 7 am when the gate opens for vehicles. Opening hours and directions can be found here. I highly recommend to go early. Personally, I think it is the time when you can truly appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of the park. We were very lucky that we had wonderful weather during the bank holiday weekend. However, this also meant that by midday, the park was swarming with families, runners, bike riders, and horse riders.

When we arrived at 7, there were a few runners (as the pedestrian gate is open 24 hours) and bike riders. If you are not athletic like me, I suggest to travel by car or take a train and bring your bike along with you. We seriously underestimated how large the park was! We did not manage to explore the whole park but luckily enough with the car, it was possible to see all the areas we wanted to in a relatively short space of time. There are various car parks located throughout the reserve and being there early meant that we did not have to fight for space!

Deer

For those who do not know, Richmond Park is famous for the wild deer that roam freely. Being a city girl, the closest I get to nature are pigeons and the local fox running off into the night. Seeing any sort of wild animal is a treat for me, so seeing deer and being able to get close to them is INCREDIBLE. My first sight of one was just as we were driving along the road towards Hams Gate. There were several males with their majestic antlers relaxing on the side of the road, watching people run by. I jumped out of the car and had to take a few pictures. Though this is when I realised, I really need to invest in a telephoto lens. Does anyone have any recommendation for a Nikon DX camera?  

The rules are that we must keep at least 50 feet away from the animal, as they wild and can act unpredictably. It thinks it is also just respectful to not get too close when they are relaxing and enjoying the morning sun.  Though here are the few shots I managed to get! Deers are just AWESOME!

 

Pen Ponds

If there is only one spot you need to go to and you are only there for an hour or less, then is to go straight to Pen Ponds. There is a car park named Spankers Hill Wood Car Park near the ponds and from there, walking in a straight line, you will walk by the field where the deer usually lie in the morning. There is a big herd of them, casually basking in the sun. They were unconcerned with the people running around them or walking past. It is a postcard shot moment – the lovely field and the Royal School of Ballet in the background (see picture above). After walking past them you will reach the large ponds. It is so picturesque. I was lucky that when I was there a lovely man was feeding the ducks and geese, so I could get really close to them. Another moment to enjoy Mother Nature.

It was a lovely Sunday morning and I really would advise anyone in London to stop by! Richmond park gets a juicy 5 out of 5 pineapples!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

P.S. Do check out @lilbigmovement for his adventures with his drone Nikki around London and beyond!