Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

Recently in conversation with my mum we were discussing stepping out of the comfort zone. This came about as she was saying how my brother would have had a lot more opportunities if he had moved to London but he will not leave Portugal for anything.

I am all for being in the comfort zone. I am guessing most people are. On top of that I can be quite lazy and always need additional motivation to “move”.

Even though this is the case I have stepped out of my comfort zone quite a few times in my life.

Most of those times if not all of them there was something pushing me out of that beautiful place that is our comfort zone.

The biggest step was probably moving to London. Our financial situation was not ideal so the way to sort out that problem was to look for financial independence elsewhere. It was not an easy journey but it had to be done.

Since I was a little kid I have always heard adults say “if you are not happy you can move” (“se nao estás bem muda-te”). This was said mostly in a derogatory way. Almost as in saying that said person could not be less bothered about your well-being so if you were not happy about it you should be the one to leave the “situation”.

It looks like that saying pretty much rules how I live my life.

Most of the times I changed jobs was because I was not totally happy with the current situation. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t try to make things better before stepping out. I usually do if I think it is worth it. The truth is that very often there are things that are out of your control and that is OK. You need to learn to accept that and move on. Be selfish and put yourself first when necessary.

Life is short and you should not be in a position that makes you miserable for too long.

This said, don’t be reckless. Study your options and make calculated moves. Try not to hurt others and always have a plan B (and a plan C when possible).

When it comes to the small things in life try to step out of your comfort zone from time to time.

I did that when I accepted my first photography “job” and went all in on my photography game. Come on, I even went to a big photography meetup to shoot with my tiny DSLR with a bunch of very nice strangers. Now I am usually busy watching all the tutorials and getting out there quite often to shoot.

Life is more fun when you step out of your comfort zone.

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Shopping Basket

Shopping Basket Cost London vs Lisbon

Following up from my previous post on the cost of living in London and Lisbon I have now researched some common shopping items to compare the prices. This will give you a deeper insight on the cost of living in both cities.

Food items

Fresh Milk        £0.66 per litre     vs 0.79€
Oats                   £0.13 per 100g   vs 0,25€
Bread                £0.7 per 400g      vs 0.65€

Apples               £2 per per Kg      vs 1.59€
Bananas           £0.76 per Kg        vs 0.99€
Black Grapes   £4 per Kg              vs 3.49€

Chicken Breast £6 per Kg             vs 5.99€
Salmon               £16.35 per Kg     vs 9.99€
Minced Beef      £8 per Kg             vs 8.48€

Spaghetti            £1.70 per Kg       vs 0.85€
Basmati Rice     £1.43 per Kg       vs 1.79€

Broccoli               £1.30 per Kg       vs 2.59€
Sweet Potato     £1 per Kg             vs 0.99€

Lettuce                  £1.25                     vs 1.59€
Tomatoes             £2 per Kg             vs 1.29€
Cucumber            £0.5                        vs 0.59€

Olive Oil                 £4 per Litre         vs 5.59€
Sea Salt                  £2.14 per Kg       vs 0.19€

London Total £54 or 59€
Lisbon Total £43 or 48€

Household Items

Fairy Liquid                       £2.17 per litre                  vs 3.88€
Ariel Liquid                        £5.5 for 24 washes         vs 8.99€ for 27 washes
Cif Cream Lemon            £5 per litre                        vs 4.99€

London Total £13 or 14€
Lisbon Total £16 or 18€

Toiletries

Sensodyne Original Toothpaste         £4.5                               vs 4.79€
Garnier Shampoo                                     £6.30 per litre            vs 12.48€
Nivea Shower Gel                                      £4 per litre                 vs 7.99€
Nivea Soft Moisturiser                              £4                                  vs 4.69€
Tampax Tampons                                      £2.85                            vs 3.99€

London Total £22 or 24€
Lisbon Total £31 or 34€

Summary

London Total £89 or 98€
Lisbon Total   £90 or 99€

It looks like your basic needs when it comes to grocery shopping, household products and toiletries cost pretty much the same in both cities. Needless to mention again the difference when it comes to the minimum wages in both cities as you can check that here.

Hope you found this information useful!

Note: I have used the current exchange rate of £1 = 1.10€

The prices shown are for similar products and no items on offer were selected. Sainsbury’s and Continente were the chosen supermarkets for this research. 

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father and baby at the beach

Daddy’s Girl?

Growing up I never really had my father around. Well, I’m kind of grown up now and he’s still not around.

You see and hear all this people talking about how children of divorced parents get damaged in the process. Honestly I always brushed that off my shoulders like I could not relate at all. Still not fully agreeing with the most extreme opinions on the matter but as everything else in your life it does affect who you are or who you become up to a certain point.

child sittingMy dad was pretty much out of my life by the time I was three. So I don’t really have a lot of memories with him. There are pictures of him holding me as a baby, a couple from a trip to London when I was a little older and another one in his boat. That’s about it.

I was lucky enough to have a stable and safe environment at home growing up with my mum, her partner and later my little brother.

kids playing gamesHad the best childhood I could wish for in a quiet little village outside Lisbon in this super pretty house on top of the hill where my mum threw the best birthday parties. No joke, we even had live shows setup by my brother’s dad, a theme and plenty of games and activities to keep kids and adults entertained. Not to talk about the amazing birthday cakes and all the delicious food.

It was the perfect life for any kid.

Because I was so young when my father left I didn’t think much about him or even asked many questions. My grandma was always present in my life so I knew about what was going on in his life. As in when he got married, moved to a different country or when I had a new brother. She always tried to get us to be closer but I don’t think he was that interested. From my side I didn’t make an effort either as I didn’t feel he wanted me in his life anyway.

Even though I often tell my brain I don’t care I guess deep down I do. Otherwise I can’t explain why I went to uni to study electronic engineering! Either I wanted to impress him or I thought it would be easier for me as I must have gotten some of his skills in my genes. Unsurprisingly it didn’t work out as planned, life got complicated and I dropped out of uni and got two jobs!

Later in my life my grandma died and my father was back in my life for a brief period. I actually enjoyed his company and he made it seem like he was going to be there for me. Sadly it was just an illusion and we quickly got back to normal.

Nevertheless I can’t say I don’t wish from time to time to be able to have my father in my life. Even if he’s clearly not the best at being one.

I am his only daughter but I was never a daddy’s girl.

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portrait of model with pink and orange hair and man tattoo with roses and orange eye shadow

My Photography Portfolio

It is finally up on the blog! My photography portfolio. I managed to start getting the pictures from the photo shoots together and now you can see my photography up there in the Portfolio.

I am super excited about this. If you couldn’t tell.

Thank you to everyone that has encouraged me to keep working. It means a lot. I am super in love with photography and the editing process.

Contact me via the Facebook Page or via direct message on Instagram if you’re interested in shooting with me.

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COST OF LIVING IN LONDON VS LISBON

Cost of Living in London vs Lisbon

I have lived in both cities so I have a rough idea about the living costs. For the purpose of providing you with more accurate information I have carried out a thorough research on the cost of living in London vs Lisbon. If you are considering living in one of these two cities this information should be helpful.

The minimum wage in the UK is roughly £1300 (1430€) and in Portugal it is 650€ (£591) per month. Please note that for the Portuguese minimum wage I have included the extra salaries you get in the Summer and in December. These amounts are both before taxes.

In Portugal it is very common to be given an extra daily allowance (not taxable up to a certain amount) usually in vouchers to help with the costs of any meals during working hours. This is currently set at a minimum of 4.52€/£4.11 per working day. As this is not mandatory I will not be taking it into consideration. If you want to do so just add roughly 100€/£90 per month to the available budget.

You need a place to sleep:

London: 1210€ or £1100 (to this amount you should add about £100 / 110€ of Council Tax)
Lisbon:   700€ or £636 per month

I have looked at 1 and 2 bedroom apartments with good transport links not more than half an hour away from the city center.

And you might have to pay bills:

Electricity:         39€/£36 in London and 45€/£41 in Lisbon
Gas:                     30€/£27 in London and 45€/£41 in Lisbon
Water:                 30€/£27 in London and 29€/£26 in Lisbon

Utilities’ Total:  98€/£89 in London and 118€/£107 in Lisbon

I have estimated the usage at 2200 kWh a year for electricity, 8000 kWh for gas (686 m3) and 125 m3 for water.

If you want to watch TV in the UK you need a TV license which will cost £12.25/11€ per month. In Portugal this is not optional and even if you don’t watch TV you have to pay 3€/ £2.7 per month (this will show up in your Electricity bill).

Also in the UK you have different options when it comes to cashback, you get a percentage of what you spend in certain places as a discount on your bill, at the moment this saves me about £20 a month. I have not taken this into consideration on the numbers shown here.

Can’t forget you need Social Media in your life

Phone and Broadband: 32€/£29 in London and 23€/£21 in Lisbon
Mobile Plans SIM only:   20€/£18 in London and 23€/£21 in Lisbon

So the basic bills (including 2 mobiles) will cost you around 1502€/£1365 in London and 887€/£806 in Lisbon.

Maybe public transports too. Unless you can afford a car

If you don’t want to be at home all the time and assuming you are commuting to work a monthly travel pass will cost you 164€/£149 in London and 60€/£55 in Lisbon.

These costs are for zone 1 to 3 travel card in London and zone 1 to 2 in Lisbon. This is because the zones in Lisbon cover a bigger area than in London.

So far (without food, clothing, toiletries and household items) these are the figures you will be looking at if you are a couple living in one of these two amazing cities and earning the minimum wage:

London: Take home 2546€/£2315, spend 1666€/£1514 and have 881€/£801 left
Lisbon:   Take home 1156€/£1051, spend  947€/£861 and have     209€/£190 left

In conclusion, things are looking pretty grim for Lisbon with not much money left after covering the basic living expenses. London does have the fame of being a very expensive city but in this comparison it doesn’t look too bad after all.

Food, toiletries and household items are covered in this post. Might even write a post on the health services for both cities. It will be interesting to give you (and myself) a good picture on how these two cities compare.

Note: I have used the current exchange rate of £1 = 1.10€

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My Fitbit

Fitbit Love

Since July 2012 I have been wearing a Fitbit every day! Don’t think I have forgotten it at home more than a couple of times.

Fitbit UltraThe Fitbit Ultra was my first one and it lasted 16 months until it started to fall apart. I was hooked on it. The app worked well and because I love numbers knowing my daily steps was quite cool. In my opinion the Fitbit doesn’t play a major role in you becoming fitter or in losing weight but it makes you more aware of your daily activity level. That might make you walk to the next bus stop or taking the stairs just to bump up your numbers. Unfortunately that novelty is likely to wear off and you will eventually be OK with lower numbers as your daily goal.

Fitbit OneIn late 2013 I bought the Fitbit One. I noticed it was more accurate in counting steps and it was considerably less bulky. This one also tracked my sleep when wearing it on my wrist during the night. The wrist “pocket” was not the most durable though. I don’t think I made use of that function very often. I was wearing it without the case inside my trousers’ small pocket or inside my bra if I had no pockets. Even though this one is tiny I never lost it. As it started to gain a gap between the back and front panel I looked into getting the next Fitbit on the market. It was still working just fine after 32 months but I wanted a new toy.

Fitbit AltaMid 2016 I bought the Fitbit Alta. I was not keen on wearing a wristband but that was the direction Fitbit was going and I did not find a better alternative to move on from the Fitbit One. I lost the floor tracking with this one but sleep tracking was easier. It is not the most comfortable wristband ever. Also I had plenty of issues with accuracy on the step count. I used the Fitbit One along with this one to check for accuracy and the difference was sometimes shocking. When I contacted the Fitbit support about it they were pretty useless. I accepted wasting £100 and got back to using my trustworthy Fitbit One that ended up being in use for just over 3 years.

Fitbit Charge 2Christmas 2016 I bought a Fitbit Charge 2 for a friend. The reviews were pretty good. A few days later I could not resist and bought one for me too. Tracking the heart rate was taking it to a whole new level and got me excited to have more numbers to analyse. The wristband is very comfortable and the screen is very clear. Accuracy seems pretty good too. The sleep tracking function is amazing and you end up learning a lot about your sleep patterns. Knowing your heart rate at anytime is great and makes the calorie burning information a lot more accurate. Very close to the numbers I was getting on my Polar watches.

These days many people are using Fitbits which makes it more fun as you can add friends. I think this is where you can get the real benefits of tracking your activity. By doing challenges or just trying to beat your friends’ step count you become more active!

Fitbit IonicNow with the launch of the Fitbit Ionic I am so tempted to get one for Christmas. It is finally waterproof and it also packs a lot of new features. The only downside is the price. At £299 it is a little more than my usual Fitbit budget.

So far I have recorded 13,528,264 steps and about 8,939.75 km. Add me as a friend if you have one too.

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slowing down canal sunset

Slowing Down

I can’t believe it has already been almost a couple of months since I launched the blog. Got everything set up in a weekend with the precious help of my boyfriend and have kept it going with regular posts since then.

The new Facebook page has been kept pretty much up to date to make it easier for you guys not to miss anything. And posts are out on Twitter as soon as I publish them.

My Instagram has been a priority lately and I am trying to post quality content on a regular basis. The old Snapchat is getting a bit dusty as I mostly use Instagram stories now.

More recently my photography has come into the spotlight. Out of the blue I got a proposal for my first photography paid job! This is a big deal for me and I am super excited about it.

After that I was invited to attend a photography meet up. My first one. You guys already know all about it.

I have been working hard to ensure I deliver the best possible service when I do that photo shoot. And who knows, maybe do some more after this one.

On my blog my posting schedule is at three times per week. Might not sound like much but when you do it properly and pay attention to the SEO, readability and finding the right pictures for each post it is not a quick process. Even though I love every bit of it I still have to manage my time and energy to do all that plus going to work five days a week.

From September I am changing my schedule on the blog to two posts a week. I will be posting on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Please bear with me while I try to find a balance between the blogger life and the day job life.

If you want to keep up with what I am doing on a daily basis you can follow me on Instagram.

To everyone at work that has come to me to tell me that they read the blog, a massive thank you! Your support is much appreciated.

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