Disconnecting from Social Media

“Social media is like crack—immediately gratifying and hugely addictive.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Started 2018 trying to disconnect from social media. I am challenging myself to have barely any social media apps on my phone at least for the month of January.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love social media, especially Instagram. But I find myself spending so much time on it on a daily basis that I feel it takes away from time I could be creating or just being present in the moment. Instead I am “consuming” other people’s lives, senselessly scrolling through my feed.

Even if you try not to, you end up comparing yourself (your work) to what others are sharing. It might be stopping you from creating more. You might even think there’s no point as you will never be as good. Or you might try to recreate what others are doing and lose yourself in it. Your passion will be gone soon if you are creating just to please others. Makes no sense to be working on something you are not going to love (unless you are getting paid for it).

No more waking up and staying in bed for a while just scrolling through Instagram or the Facebook feed.

Deleted apps: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and LinkedIn.
Keeping: Facebook Pages and Messenger, EyeEm (stock photography), Bloglovin’ and YouTube.

I will get back to you at some point to let you know how life without social media is going.

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2017 Rewind

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

Lets talk about 2017. This year just flew by as I was super busy for the most part of it.

I don’t recall travelling as much as I did this year. Planning was sometimes rushed but having little time between trips made it harder to plan everything properly.

When it comes to my travelling agenda, 2017 started in March with a 10 day visit to Lanzarote. It was my first time in the Canary Islands. I was a bit skeptical about this destination as I thought it would be too touristy but it was a pleasant surprise. There are plenty of things to do and to see in Lanzarote and the landscapes are something else.

For April I had booked my first trip without my boyfriend and went to the best city in the World with one of my best friends. It was amazing to be a tourist in such a special place. I was a little nervous about changing up my travel partner but I loved it. And I think she loved it too. Even though we drove through a long suspended bridge she never said she wanted to go back home early! She also put up with my late night burger cravings and got out of the room to go round the corner to the closest diner. We had fun.

June is a month for celebrations as it is both my birthday and our anniversary. As the dates are not too close we traveled twice this year. For my birthday we hopped on a flight to Copenhagen. I quite liked it there despite the very expensive food. Our Airbnb by the lake was unreal. Later in the month we chose our beloved Menorca to celebrate our anniversary. We have been there a few times and it already feels like a home away from home.

September was time to head back to Portugal. It was time to catch up with family and friends and to spend quality time together in one of our favourite places in Portugal (Milfontes). It was great exploring the beautiful beaches of Alentejo. Even though the weather was not amazing we made the best out of it and enjoyed spending time with our loved ones.

By the end of the year we were still craving Sun. So the destination in December was again in the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura. Not as amazing as Lanzarote but still quite pretty. We did catch some sun rays and a lot of wind too. The post holidays blues hit us hard after Fuerteventura so I booked a last-minute Christmas break in Amsterdam. It was a very special time (hot tubs included) spent in the best possible company, my boyfriend.

I can’t complain I didn’t travel enough this year.

In between travels other things went on in my life.

I finally decided to start blogging in English. Not hiding behind the language barrier anymore. It was a bit scary to get myself out there. To be exposed to the ones close to me “in real life” but so far it has been a very rewarding experience. The support I get almost on a daily basis is amazing and I am so grateful for all of it.

A special thank you goes to my boyfriend that pushed me to start getting serious about blogging. He set up all the technical bits for me. All in one weekend back in July! He also puts up with me stressing out about getting content out on time and allows me the time to do it. Even when we are away he doesn’t complain if I sit down for hours to write. This blog would not exist without his support. Thank you!

My love for photography was reignited this year. I have learned a lot and stepped out of my comfort zone a few times. A big thank you to Reo for the vote of confidence, she was my first customer and pushed me to believe in myself. Another thank you goes to the @uk.shooters for the amazing meet ups that allowed me to get great shots and to work with amazing people.

Also decided to give myself a little more credit for being able to keep up with the blog, for learning about photography almost daily and getting out there to shoot when possible. Still having a full-time job and planning all those holidays. It is not always easy but I am loving every little bit of it.

Hope 2018 will be even better! Please stick around with me for whatever is coming up next year. Thank you again for all the support.

Happy New Year to you all!
Lots of love,
Ana

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Christmas

So this is not only my Sunday post but my Christmas Eve post too! Thought I would go along with the seasonal theme and write a little bit about Christmas.

First of all I hope you are all enjoying this time and are not too stressed out with last-minute shopping trips. Thankfully this year I have done absolutely no Christmas shopping and sorted my main present by buying some flights.

Every year I get asked if I am going “home”. In the beginning we were doing it and were flying to Lisbon for Christmas every year. Until we realised that this holiday period is a little overrated and shamelessly overpriced. There is no set time (or there shouldn’t be) to be with our loved ones. We can do it any other time of the year with the added bonus of spending a lot less money on flights. We have celebrated Christmas in Portugal on the “wrong date” before and truly enjoyed it. Christmas is whenever you want it to be!

As an adult Christmas becomes a little less exciting, at least for me. So I don’t really mind spending it just with my boyfriend and enjoy watching movies and eating the amazing food he cooks during the days we get off work.

This year we are doing something a little different. I will update you on my holidays’ activities once I am back to London. Merry Christmas!

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Being Bilingual

Growing up I learned Portuguese as my native language (the usual when you are born in Portugal) but was exposed to English from a young age.

Thankfully in Portugal it is not very common to have voice-overs in Portuguese on everything showing on TV and subtitles are the norm. This means that all kids are exposed to English when they watch TV. It helps when learning the language later on as we are at least already familiar with the sound of it.

Personally I started having English lessons when I was in primary school (private ones) and I had VHS cassettes and books with the basics for kids. My mom was serious about me learning English. Even enrolled me at the British Council (private English school) where all the teachers had English as their native language. At one point I was already getting English lessons in public school but my mom was adamant I should still keep learning it “properly”. This led to some issues with my English teachers as unfortunately they were in general not the best.

Vague memories of tests marked incorrectly and small arguments during classes with the teachers come to my mind right now. It was challenging at times as I was being taught the same language in very different ways. On a more positive note I was happy I could help my friends pass the tests. I would usually finish mine quickly and could easily let them copy from me.

At one point I no longer wanted to bother with the private classes and wanted to stop going. My mum still insisted on them. I found most of my colleagues there to be a bit stuck up and I did not identify with them. Most of them were growing up in rich families and thought they were better than everyone else. That annoyed me at times and made me feel like I didn’t belong there.

Nowadays I appreciate my mum’s efforts and the financial investment.

Before I moved to London I had not spoken or written in English for years so when I got here it was back to basics. It took me a little while to get back into it.

At first it was exhausting to have to speak English all day. It would drain all my mental energy. I remember having a Portuguese co-worker on my first job and really cherished my lunch breaks as I was able to “rest” and have an effortless chat in Portuguese.

With time it got less tiring and more natural to speak in English. After a few years here I started to forget words in Portuguese and occasionally responded in English when speaking in Portuguese! Even though I practice my Portuguese every day.

I have not read anything about how our brains deal with being able to communicate in different languages but from my experience it gets a little confused at times. If I am tired or with a close friend I have the tendency to accidentally say words in Portuguese. This can also happen if you ask me something while I am in the middle of something else.

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am for being able to communicate so well in two different languages and also understand a few bits from other languages like Spanish, French and Italian.

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Why Not?

I have done a few different things in my life when it comes to work. Different jobs in different industries and different countries.

The most rewarding experiences happened when I was in a position where I managed people. Managing people is not easy. You have your ups and downs. It can be a struggle at times, it can be tiring but it is definitely not boring. Also it pays off for all the struggles every time you get a thank you or see people happy around you.

You cannot imagine how amazing it feels to have someone you recruited, trained and managed a few years ago ask for your address so they can send you a thank you postcard for being their first mentor.

Even though I love doing it I made a conscious decision of staying away from such positions when I changed to a different industry. I wanted to focus on learning. I wanted to be a little selfish and focus on myself. Five years in I have learned a lot about the industry and about myself. For a moment I thought about getting back to managing people. I got excited with the possibility of doing it again.

Why not? You might be asking. I gave up on the idea because I know I would be super focused on the new role, it would consume all of my head space and I would have no time or energy left for this blog or for photography. For those reasons I have decided that now is not the time to make that move.

To everyone that encouraged me to apply for a team leader role, a big thank you for the vote of confidence. I really appreciate it.

I am super passionate about blogging and photography at the moment and don’t want to lose that just yet. Maybe you are thinking that this is silly. That I should try to step up at work. Maybe it is silly! Honestly I think it makes sense and I am following my “heart” on this one.

Another big thank you goes to everyone that has been complimenting or just asking questions about my photography work or my blog. I really enjoy talking with you guys about it.

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Money Can Ruin Your Life

This week was to say the least, different. There was so much happening that time just flew by.

When something “big” happens it gets everyone talking. Information spreads like wild-fire. Of course there are details that are likely to not be very accurate. People tend to spice it up a bit by adding a pinch of drama. That is just Human nature, I think.

Some people do stupid things for money. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people to have an unhealthy “relationship” with money. growing up having people around me that dealt with money in a not so healthy way I cannot say I was truly shocked. It was more of a surprise than actual shock. It makes me sad that people allow money to rule (and sometimes ruin) their lives.

At the same time it makes me happy to be able to say I have learned from the bad examples around me growing up and as an adult I am not obsessed with money.

Let me know in the comments if you have had any bad experiences related to money. Either first hand or close to you.

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Customer’s Responsabilities

As a customer you have the responsibility of not hurting someone who is just doing their job.

Unless someone has been clearly rude towards you I believe you have no right of mistreating someone just because your life is not going the way you want. Or because you have whatever issue with the brand that the person represents at the time.

Yes, you can be frustrated with a service or product. Yes, you should complain about it if you have a reason to do so. No, you should not disregard the feelings of the person that is there to help you.

I have done customer service for a few years. I am lucky enough to not be too sensitive about what customers “throw at me” but on a few occasions I let it get to me and it ruined my day.

Unfortunately not everyone has that “thick skin” that is so useful to work with customers. You might say that they should then get a different job but that is not always an option.

What if we all became better at respecting each other?
That would be so nice.

Also be a smart customer as from the second you disrespect someone their instinct will be to do the bare minimum to get rid of you quickly. If you treat someone well they are way more likely to go the extra mile to help you.

Personal story time:

Once upon time a customer took it to social media to rant about the company I represented. I would not have had an issue with it if my name was not included on the post.

The ironic thing was that I had been super helpful all along and was actually resolving it for her. There was no indication of dissatisfaction on our phone calls so I didn’t even see it coming. It goes to show how people can be so “brave” behind the screen but not actually able to speak out their concerns.

It took me a few days and a couple of attempts to actually get Twitter to remove the post. Time of my life I could have used to do better things, like watching Stranger Things.

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