The Brighton ‘Bubble’

Over dinner last night we began talking about the Brighton ‘bubble’, the bubble that is all things sex, gender and race related and the difference in these aspects when it comes to living elsewhere. Brighton has a very particular character when it comes to these topics, people talk about them, openly describe themselves as bisexual, gender fluid, transgender. In retail jobs in Brighton that I’ve learnt to address transgender or cross-dressing customers. Talking about race is never a taboo with my white friends. They look at me in shock and horror when I tell them I went somewhere and someone treated me like…. A white friend of mine was the one who told me about the book “Why I’ve Stopped Talking to White People about Race” she wanted to know my opinions to know if I felt the same.

It came even more apparent to me what a bubble Brighton is when I stepped outside of it four years ago and started university in Manchester I got catcalled a lot and not by builders but by men in cars, on the street, everywhere. It was the first time I had dealt with such a personal attack on my sexuality and gender on scale. In Manchester, I held my best friends hand leaving a club one night, and a van driver rolled down his window, slowed down and shouted “shame” at us.

It got even worse when I went from Manchester to Leeds for my masters and had to deal with the racist remarks made by waiters to my Asian friends, my friends that came from Thailand and China and were heard by others as speaking their mother tongue. They had to both code-switched and switched language before being talked down to by a barrister. I was ashamed by the subtle prejudice of the barista ignored their order and asked them multiple times about the coffee that they had already ordered, she laughed at their mispronunciation and glanced knowingly to the other waiter. I took over ordering. I apologised to my friends and hope they hadn’t noticed how rude the barista has been to them, I felt so embarrassed. As a British person, I am ashamed that my friends think this treatment from British people is normal. They tell me it’s okay and that I shouldn’t worry. They already acknowledge the racism is ingrained and is a part of them not being from the UK. They summarise it into one word and move on with their day.

The hate that belonged in the playground in parts of my childhood in Brighton is enough to form anecdotes in other cities of the same country it is enough for my Thai friend who has been in the UK less than a year to mouth “racist” to me after hearing or experiencing some form of discrimination. I am starting to understand why people love Brighton, why for some people it is a sanctuary that allows them to kiss the person they love on the street whenever they feel like it or be able to finish your sentence when ordering coffee if you’re not an native. For me, anyway, I appreciate the fact that when I’m in Brighton, I don’t feel conflicted being brown and British.

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Don’t change your workout pattern

With my gym closing and my eating changing as it draws toward Christmas- keeping up with going to the gym in between has been pretty difficult.

What I’ve found so difficult with the change in pattern of working out pretty much once every two days to then working out three times in three days is that it is so much harder when it’s not spread out. Your muscles are so tense the day after working with weights and you feel way less motivated than if you have a day off in between. To make the best of it on the last of the three days I stayed off the machines and did some butt and leg workouts using Romee Strijd’s YouTube videos which were really easy and fun.

I’m still finding that I’m improving and can run continuously a bit longer the more I work out which keeps me motivated. I also think that whilst I could totally stay away from Christmas foods there’s no point completely restricting myself and not enjoying Christmas. I’m only making sure I don’t over do it and feel super tired after eating a ton of food that has no nutritional value or wholesomeness to it.

Give Yourself No Excuses- working out three times a week

Since coming to Leeds for University I have been more motivated than ever to work out. My friends are laughing at me for saying this. But really.. I have never been as consistent as I am now with working out and I still only go to the gym once a week. I think two of the main differences for me now are that I have a gym in my building and I have friends that work out HARD. I mean everyday kind of hard. I can see how much more energy and strength compared to me and it makes me realise I need to make fitness a priority in my life.

I am tired of making excuses for myself, so I have decided to work out three times a week and I am going to keep a track of my workouts on my blog to track my progress.  I’m not interested in being thin. But I know there are parts of my body like my stomach and thighs that I would really like to have some tone to them.

These are my pictures for this week:

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(keep hydrated)

The Ultimate Guide to Brunching in Manchester

To Brunch or not to Brunch..is that really a question?

I love the idea of Brunch… a meal which consists of both breakfastable and lunchable foods in one. Brunch is not like Breakfast, it has a laid back attitude while (if delicious), remains the pinnacle of the day and an event in itself, to savour with friends.  The very idea of combining the two meals together breaks away from the conventions of a set meal times allowing one to satisfy both cravings, whilst also allowing for them to have that extra hour of a lie in before they would normally make their morning muesli.

As someone who loves brunch, I have put together a list of my favorite brunch spots in Manchester and have put links to their websites so you can check out the menu to help you check out my incredibly cool recommendations.

  1. Ezra and Gil

This place is just so well thought through! From a thoughtful and wide menu which includes drinks like Macha Lattes to Pumpkin Toast and the brunch classics, this place is one of the best places for a satisfying brunch experience in which you can expect to try food combinations which you never knew could work so well together. The decor is the mixture of dark furniture with a modern, quirky edge to the lights and interior details. The layout of Ezra and Gil is such that it feels quite spacious, there are both table and window seats, the latter of which is better for a quiet  brunch. It’s not hugely well-known by students in Manchester and has a more young professional vibe. Ever since I was introduced to it by a friend I have loved coming there. If you go during the week you’re sure to get a spot where you can have a delicious brunch and whittle away on your computer for a couple of hours. 

http://www.ezraandgil.com/Home.html

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2. Evelyn’s

Again another very cool, modern brunch spot with a cool lighting interior. This place has less on the menu than Ezra and Gil but each brunch choice has been very well thought through so that all the flavours compliment each other. They have the classics like avocado toast but also have unique dishes like Korean rolls and scrambled tofu. It’s quite busy on the weekends so its best to book for this brunch spot. It is a place that I love coming to time and time again.  Each picture you take looks wonderful and the place is full of colour and light. Expect to be taken by the look of the place from the way they present the food to the wooden furnishings and potted plants. Evelyn’s has a very wholesome, friendly atmosphere. 

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/4bbd29_c13f7a7c296843498adc6abef5967172.pdf 

 

3. Sugar Junction

This place may not be known for brunches but it should be!  There may be less on the menu but the brunch places but the options they do have are delicious. What’s even better is that you combine brunch with some fruit tea (try ‘pucker up lover’) to make it an even more delicious experience. The layout is very cosy with wooden chairs, books to read on your table and beautiful chandeliers, with many two-seater tables, it is perfect for a 1:1 chat or a winter date. 

http://www.sugarjunction.co.uk

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4. Anchor Cafe

As a student this was a place that my friends and I would love to go to treat ourselves. Just on the border of The University of Manchester campus and Curry Mile, the Anchor Cafe is hidden away for those that know about its existence. Go here for a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel or a strong nice cup of coffee and you won’t be disappointed. At very good prices you can get the bagel for starters and a cream and strawberry topped waffle for less than ten pounds. The tables are big which makes the  space perfect for any kind of family gathering or group work that you may have to do. 

http://www.sugarjunction.co.uk

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Hiking in Edinburgh- A Morning of Adventure

A great way to see the city without paying is to hike around Edinburgh. This was not something that I’d really thought to do the first few times I visited Edinburgh. After going on all the ghost tours, the Edinburgh castle and seeing everything Harry Potter related, hiking around Edinburgh was a very welcome alternative to see the beauty of the city.

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Our view at the top was incredibly beautiful, it was the perfect place for some pictures and to gain back our breath.  After just one and a half hours of an enjoyable walk we had made it to the top.

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The first part was a bit steep but it only lasted for the first 15 minutes of the walk. We packed light and only took the essentials with us which made our walk all the more easy.

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The hike was well worth doing and a very enjoyable and productive way to start the day. The view from every angle was incredible and on a clear day like we had you could see all of the city.

How to Fall in Love with Brighton

While it’s always fun to explore a new city, see new sights, experience new foods and new cultures, I think it is possible to rediscover and fall in love with the city you’re from.

A friend visited Brighton recently and told me he didn’t think much of it. While my feelings about Brighton do change now and then after living there for so long I still couldn’t believe someone would be so quick to insult a place they’d only been to once and pass it off as touristy and generic. One cannot so quickly fall out of love with a city which is full of life, vibrancy and beauty as Brighton.

So here are some recommendations, from a Brighton and Hove local to anyone looking to visit…

 

1. One of the best things about Brighton is the amazing artwork around the city. It’s something that always keeps you intrigued about what you’ll find around the corner.

 

2. Being by the sea makes me happy, it might not seem like there’s much to do but sometimes just laying by the beach, taking a walk and stopping at the Brighton Pier for a beer and freshly made donuts is a pretty sweet way to spend a summer evening. If you want something more active there is always swimming and canoeing in the summer.

3. This ice cream place, Gelato Gusto is to die for, lovely home-made Italian ice cream right in the center of the Brighton Lanes.

 

4. The Mesmerist bar is a great place to unwind at the end of a busy day. It is a place where you can swing dance, learn how to make cocktails or just enjoy the music and relax with your friends with a peach and coconut daiquiri.
There are so many reasons to love a city, you just have to explore it further.

 

Training with Muay Thai Legends at Yokkao Gym, Bangkok

Thailand is one of my favourite places in the world. It is a place that instantly makes me feel joyous and excited to be there. The people are so kind and welcoming, the palaces and the gardens are beautiful and vibrant with colour, and you always end up trying some fruit or traditional dish you’ve never had the chance to try before.

On my second visit to Thailand, I decided to try out Muay Thai after having some experience of martial arts at university. Yokkao Gym in Bangkok is located at Sukhumvit Soi 16, a thirty-minute taxi ride from my hotel and behind the main street. My walk to the gym had me slightly intimidated as all I could hear down the road was loud music, beats pumping. I was then overtaken by three men in Muay Thai shorts who had finished the 10km run in Benjakiti Park (an optional part of the training at Yokkao) who ran into the gym with sweat dripping down them ready for training.

However, soon after I arrived and I was quickly welcomed by one of the other students into the group.  I found that the trainers at the gym were very serious about Muay Thai but were also very friendly and funny. I remember one of the trainers was particularly amused about me being both British and Indian and joking with me about how that could be, as the stereotype of the British in Thailand was that they were cold and severe in contrast to Indian people who they thought of as being very happy. They were quick to crack jokes at our expense and acted as if they knew and had been training us for years.

The training sessions were around 2/3 hours long with the trainers working with each person for three intervals of five minutes inside the ring at a time. They would work with you on your kicks and punches making sure your technique was good and showing you how to improve each movement. They would also condition you to think about how to defend yourself well during and after every move so you would be in a better position to attack. After the 15 minutes was over, you would work using the punch bags. The level of energy and focus from the people around me carried me through the two and a half hours of vigorous body conditioning and technique training inside the ring without me noticing how quickly the time was going or how hard they were making us work.

I was fortunate that the first person who worked with me was Kru Manop (Saenchai’s trainer). He helped to correct and improve every kick and every punch I made. I have never learnt so much in 30 minutes before nor have had someone focus on the way I was moving in so much detail, as each trainer was doing for each student. The gym was buzzing with energy and people wanting to learn how to improve their skills.

Being in the hub of Muay Thai in Bangkok at Yokkao, having our training sessions being taken by Muay Thai fighters like Singdam, getting to meet the Muay Thai legend Saenchai and making friends with people at Yokkao was something that made the experience unforgettable.

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