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To the ex who’s stalking my blogs!

Well it’s been some time since I last posted so thought i’d update you guys on what’s the latest with me!

I can say I’ve had some fun and funny few weeks! I became a Master’s Graduate! I’ve screamed my heart out at Thorpe Park and Alton Towers! I travelled to Southport, Liverpool, Manchester and London! I have literally had the time of my life dancing and singing on the motorway!

To my ex, you think i’m here double dating? Good. You think i’m enjoying my time to the max? Good. You think my family is supporting your decision to divorce me? Good. I couldn’t care less.

The fact you have to stalk my page like a coward just speaks volumes. I mean I thought you wanted nothing to do with me? You was so quick to utter the words “divorce” when I caught you on Tinder and on TikTok chatting to other women. Please. My life has nothing to do with you anymore. Be a man.

Eventhough a narcissist like you deserves all the hate, I forgive you. I actually feel sorry for you because you can’t take accountability for your own actions. It’s sad. You have to lie your way through life for others to feel sorry for you and that’s just sad. You have to put that fake smile on your face, dance and flirt with other women but really and truely you’re miserable. You lost the best thing that ever happened to you and you’ll disagree with me right now but God works in mysterious ways.

I remember a time you said “Karma loves me” “When I fuck up, karma bites me in the ass” “If I ever hurt you what will I say to God?” “I’ve been to Islamic gatherings with my brother in law so I know not to hurt anyone’s daughter” well guess what sweetie, Karma works in ways no man can be ready for. I don’t wish bad on you, I want you to be happy with the miserable life you’ve created for yourself. Keep listening to songs and smoking that weed. Money can buy you happiness but not a clean soul and conscious.

But it’s all good though, I prefer to be the villain in our story. I was always the villain. If that’s what makes you happy and suits your stories then I accept.

P.S … I never claimed to be religious, but if I had to choose culture or Islam, I would choose Islam any day because it teaches me to have respect and morals, something you lacked. You disrespected me so much in our first 6 months of marriage, messed with my head and self-confidence because you weren’t happy with my body or my rights as a woman. You then expected me to be this person who still kissed your feet and respected you? Nah.

You fucked up your own marriage. YES YOU & I can’t blame anyone but YOU for doing that. You weren’t ready to be a husband or a man and I blame that on your parents. If only your parents taught you how to treat women, but unfortunately they didn’t. Women in your family apparently don’t deserve the respect.

Anyways, good luck to you and your pal who’s so interested in my life because you both need it.

Written by Larayb aka Layla ✌🏼

Signs You’re Overthinking (And what to do about it)

Everyone worries about life from time to time. However, some of us (myself included) are chronic overthinkers who are plagued by a constant flow of negative thoughts that they can’t control. Overthinking is a form of anxiety and it can be debilitating.

Don’t know if you’re an overthinker? Keep on reading…

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Here are some signs you’re overthinking

  1. You always think of the worst case scenario rather than the best
  2. You feel like you cannot switch your brain off
  3. Things that are out of your control make you anxious
  4. You plan excessively
  5. Living in the present moment feels impossible, you live in the past or the future
  6. You have difficulty sleeping because your mind is constantly racing.
  7. You think of your mistakes constantly.
  8. Repetitive thought pattern
  9. A hard time making even simple decisions
  10. You have a negative mindset and don’t focus on solutions, instead focus on problems.
  11. You can’t let go of the past
  12. Constantly seeking reassurance

Do any of these sound familiar? If the answer is yes, you are likely a chronic overthinker. So what can you do about it?

Change Your Mindset

The first thing you have to do is change your mindset. Overthinking is not useful, in fact, it’s a complete waste of time. Every time your mind is starting to race and you are focusing on the worst case scenario, you have to interrupt your thought pattern. “What if I lose my job?” can be changed to “What if I find a job that is more suited to me?” It’s difficult at first and it takes time but changing your negative thoughts to positive is the first place to start.

I truly believe that whatever you think, you become. Call it the law of attraction, but if your inner thoughts are negative, the outside will surely start to reflect that mindset. Changing your inner dialogue from “I am constantly stressed out” to “I am in control of my own life” is a powerful message. Try it and watch your life transform.

Focus on Solutions

Rather than focusing on the problems, you should start looking at solutions. By doing this, we are more likely to take action to resolve the so-called problem. If you are constantly focusing on the problem and overthinking it, you are not working hard to resolve it. Becoming a person who takes action is powerful and will help you regain control of your thoughts.

Distract Your Mind

Sometimes you have to just distract yourself from your own overthinking. This might mean phoning a pal for a catchup, or reading a news article on something completely different. Escaping your own thoughts through distraction is a great way to learn to eventually ignore them.

Stay Present

Rather than focus on what might happen in the future, try to be present. Overthinking can ruin your today… the saying goes “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift… that’s why it’s called the present.” Maybe it’s cheesy, but it is true. The past is already done and we don’t know what is ahead, so it’s time to focus on the day we have today and appreciate what you have now. This might mean unplugging from Social Media, stepping outside for some fresh air or enjoying a coffee with your friends. Be present and enjoy the moment you’re in.

Talk to a Professional

Overthinking is not the easiest thing to deal with and sometimes you can feel isolated. While everyone else looks like they are enjoying life, you’re stuck in this negative thought loop. It’s not fun! But you’re not alone. Talk to a professional if it’s becoming a burden. Therapy can teach you different tools for tackling chronic overthinking and change your mindset!

Written by Jade @talkthirtea

Low Self-Esteem and 10 Tips To Overcome It

Low self-esteem… We all have those days where we feel inadequate. Your confidence might have taken a knock, but you’ll soon bounce back. However, if you have a constant feeling of not being enough, a lack of self-belief and feel like you are not worthy of good things, you may be suffering from chronic low self-esteem. These types of thoughts can have a massive impact on your mental health and cause a negative thought pattern that can be difficult to break. It’s important to take action to break this mindset so please keep on reading!

After my divorce, I suffered with chronically low self-esteem. The self-critical thoughts of feeling inadequate and unlovable have led me to some pretty dark places. If you are feeling like this you are not alone. But it is important to take action and improve yourself.

Here are some tips for overcoming low self-esteem and realising your own self-worth!

girl doing her facial skin care
Creating a self-care routine can boost your self-worth!

Self-Care

Sometimes when our self-esteem is rock bottom, we neglect ourselves. You may not feel like washing your hair, doing your makeup or even getting out of bed. Something I’ve been forcing myself to do each day is my skin care routine. Those 10 minutes each morning and night are just a little bit of self-love I dedicate to myself, even if that’s all I achieve that day. Sometimes putting the smallest bit of effort into your appearance can boost your low self-esteem.

Goal-setting

Your low self-esteem might be worse if you are stuck in a rut. Setting some goals for the future and working towards them is also an act of self-love. What do you actually want for your future? How are you going to get there? Low self-esteem is magnified when you are not doing the things that make you happy. Living a life that does not serve you is a sure way to feel insignificant and have low self-esteem. Take small steps towards these goals every day and when you do achieve them, your self confidence will be boosted. But do not get bogged down when you don’t reach them immediately.

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

Remember all of the things you have already achieved. You may feel like you have nothing to be proud of but you absolutely do. Look at where you are and how you got here. Write down everything you are proud of. Graduated college? Leaving a toxic relationship? Give yourself a pat on the back and remember you’ve done plenty of great things already and will do plenty more. When your self-esteem is low it is easy to forget all of the wonderful things you have already achieved. Be proud of yourself!

Remember Everyone Has Flaws

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Stop focusing on your “flaws.” Everyone has them and nobody is looking at yours!

You’re not the only one who feels this way. Everyone has things they wish they could change about themselves and we just don’t realise. Even the most confident person in the room has insecurities, and days of low self-esteem, it’s normal. The difference is, they don’t focus on them so much. And that’s what you need to learn too to improve your low self-esteem.

Remind Yourself of Your Assets

You might feel like you don’t have any assets but I assure you do. Stand in front of the mirror and focus on the things you do like! It will be difficult to train your mind not to focus on your “flaws.” But do it anyway. Dimples, freckles, big boobs, small boobs, thick eyebrows, curly hair. Whatever you have, I can guarantee there are people who would kill to have what you do. Be kind to yourself for a change and see how much your life improves.

Stop People Pleasing

People with low self-esteem have a tendency to people please. They have a hard time setting boundaries and saying no. Because our minds are tricking us into believing our opinion is not important and people won’t value it. It is important… Start saying no to things that don’t serve you and watch your confidence grow. It is scary at first but setting boundaries is a true act of self-love. The more that you say what you mean, the higher your self-esteem will get.

Stop Second-Guessing Yourself

Either do something or don’t. Don’t sit on the fence about things. It is better to go all in and fail, than worry about what might happen, so you never try. Challenging yourself is a great way to boost your self-esteem. Don’t worry if anyone else likes it, or what anyone else thinks. What do you think? Are you doing what is good for you? Then stop second guessing yourself and go for it.

Move Your Body

black and silver headphones beside red and black headphones
Start chasing those endorphins to raise your self-esteem

We already know how good exercise is for our physical health. But let’s not forget the benefits it has on our mental health. A brisk walk outside can get the endorphins flowing enough to dig you out of that negative mindset. And the more you move your body, the more addictive those endorphins are!

Let Go of the Past

Whatever the reason for your low self-esteem, you have to learn to let go of the past. Maybe you’ve been bullied in the past, or you didn’t feel loved in your last relationship. Whatever the reason is, you cannot learn to love yourself by holding onto the things that made you feel low in the past. What other people think of you is not your problem. And what YOU think of YOU is just about changing your mindset and battling your low self-esteem.

Stop Judging Others

If you are the type of person who judges others, it’s time to quit that bad habit. And no wonder your self-esteem is so low! If you constantly look at the negative in others, your inner dialogue will be awful too. What kind of things do you think about yourself, if you only see the bad in other people. And you probably believe that other people think like you too. Being judgmental is only harming yourself in the long run, so whenever you think bitchy thoughts about others, force yourself to think something positive. Start complimenting people, change your thoughts to positive and your low self-esteem will start to improve!

Written by Jade

Newbie Bloggers: Our Experience One Month In

Well, two newbie bloggers, one month in already! We started @talkthirtea one month ago and already we have learned so much. If you have taken time out of your day to read what we have written or follow us, then THANK YOU!

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Thank you to all our lovely readers!

When we first created this website, Layla and I had some ideas but lacked the confidence to post. Despite being newbie bloggers, we know we have our stories to share but it took some courage to actually put it down in words. Especially considering we are complete newbies in the blogging world and we wanted to share very intimate parts of our lives!

We had no preconceived notions on what it means to be bloggers, so we are learning as we go! And thanks to all the other wonderful creators out there, we have already learned so much.

Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned in just one month as newbie bloggers!

The Blogging Community is Kind

Well, this one shouldn’t be surprising, but bloggers have been incredibly kind so far. Whether we’ve reached out to experienced and successful bloggers, or less known bloggers have left comments on our posts, everyone so far has been lovely! What a breath of fresh air. I’m sure there will be the odd bad apple, but so far this community seems to be extremely welcoming and uplifting.

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The blogging community is so welcoming towards newbie bloggers!

People Care About What We are Writing

In just one short month we have had over 600 views from 26 different countries, 26 comments and 125 likes! Again, thank you for taking time out of your day and reading our stories! We’ve read all of our comments and as two newbie bloggers, we are blown away. We hope we can continue to grow our little blog and reach people who can relate to our stories in the future.

We’ve No Idea What We’re Doing

SEO, key phrases, affiliate links and growing our social media platform… We are newbie bloggers and have no idea where to begin. It can all be a bit confusing. However, we are learning and taking the time to understand how to grow our platform authentically. We started this blog to share our stories and the rest will hopefully fall into place.

We Are Not Alone

As two (almost) 30 year olds who are both divorced and childless, we felt like nobody could relate to us during this transitional period of our lives. It turns out that there are plenty of you who can! Everyone has their own story and people are interested in hearing what we have to say. We are beyond grateful to hear from others about their similar stories or people who understand! Again, THANK YOU!

This post is just recognising our viewers and showing you all some gratitude for reading our blog posts! We appreciate you all and hope you are getting something from our posts, whether you can relate to our stories or not! Thank you for being patient as we learn.

Written by Jade and Layla @talkthirtea

Cross Cultural Relationships and the Things Nobody Talks About

** This post is in no way meant to insult or belittle any particular group or culture. I hold no bias or hatred towards anyone and loved and appreciated many parts of my cross-cultural marriage. Every culture is different as is each family/relationship. No two relationships, regardless of culture or race will look the same. **

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Thoughts from a divorcee

Cross cultural relationships are becoming so common place nowadays and it is a thing to be celebrated. Relationships outside of our own culture can be incredibly educational and really open our minds to things we never considered before. Every relationship is different and it is a beautiful thing to see people from all different cultures come together in love as society celebrates our differences.

We don’t realise that through our upbringing, we are conditioned to think certain things are normal from an early age. Therefore it is so important to learn and respect each others culture. We don’t know any different than what we are taught, so be willing to learn and embrace your cross cultures.

When you enter a cross-cultural relationship there are certain things I will warn you of. (I am by no means instigating hate towards any other culture, and every culture is different. I am merely telling my story and what I learned as a result of it!)

My experience in a cross cultural relationship

My ex-husband was a first generation American from South Asian heritage. And I am from Scotland, from what I would call a very typically Scottish family. My family are not religious, despite being raised Catholic. My ex was a self-labelled “westernised” American. He was an atheist, despite his muslim upbringing and he did not identify with his heritage much at all, other than his love of the food (which we both shared.) The fact that neither of us were religious was something important to me as I did not want to run into problems in the future.

photo of masjid during daytime

Due to our differences, our relationship ended in tears (and divorce papers). Here are some things nobody talked about before we got married in terms of crossing culture.

You will feel like the odd one out sometimes

Although more and more people are dating and marrying outside of their culture, it is still not that common. My husband was the only person in his family and friend group to marry a white girl. And the same goes for my family. Nobody had married outside of their culture and so this was a learning experience for both of us.

Although his family and friends were very accepting, sometimes I felt like the odd one out. The food I made was bland and basic in comparison to the delicious meals his family and friends wives could whip up (although I learned a few recipes!) and my wardrobe was completely different.

When we went to south asian weddings, I felt out of place. Despite wearing the traditional dress and embracing the culture, everyone stared at the white girl and I felt isolated. Most people were super welcoming and loved to see me embrace their culture, but as an introvert, sometimes I just wanted to blend into the background.

platter of foods

Societal Pressure

Although we lived in the USA without many hiccup for the first few years, when we moved nearer the South Asian community my ex husband grew up in, in Brooklyn, pressure got to us.

Although he was not connected to his culture in the traditional sense of religion, he felt the need to behave himself in the community so that people would not talk. This meant “act like everyone else.” As someone who didn’t understand what it meant to “act like everyone else”, things got difficult.

I remember going to our Pakistani friends bbq in the height of summer and my husband insisted I wore leggings under my summer dress. It was 32C outside and I protested. He told me, “what do you think everyone will say about you?” Societal pressure can be a real problem in cross cultural relationships… no matter how compatible you both are. My ex husband didn’t care if I wore a dress when we went out together as long as nobody from the community saw me.

You Will Be Ignorant

Whether or not you educate yourself and take the time to learn, there will be times you realise just how ignorant you are. It’s okay to admit where you have work still to do. And you’ll never stop learning. It’s important not to judge each other for your differences and learn to embrace them. I loved teaching my ex about my own culture and seeing him interested.

We’ve been conditioned to think a certain way and follow certain social rules. When those norms are challenged, it can feel like an attack on you personally. We like to think we were raised “the right way” or that we know what is best. But sometimes, you have to realise there is no right way and that our differences are what make us unique. It is important not to take things personally and to take the time to understand your differences rather than get defensive.

Family Expectations

a mother arranging tulips in a flower vase
What are your family values?

Let me preface this by saying, I grew up in a very tight-knit family. My mother lived with her in-laws as they grew older and sicker, as well as her own parents. She still lives with my grandmother today. I hope to do the same for my own Mother as she grows old.

Every family is different. However, in certain culture, the in-laws of a woman are the head of the household. Whether her son is married or not, his duty is to look after his mother first and foremost. No matter how demanding they are. This burden also extends to the daughter-in-law.

Now, not everyone’s experience will be like mines in a cross cultural relationship. My ex husband was the eldest sibling and only boy in a Pakistani household. All of the expectations fell on his shoulders to take care of his mother and sisters. This was something I understood before marrying him, although the boundaries were pushed to the limits. We financially supported his mother and sisters and were expected to open our home to then whenever they felt like it. Our house was, as his mother told me “our second home” and she could do as she pleased here.

Tradional Gender Roles

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Being an educated working woman is something I am proud of

In these modern times, society is challenging gender roles, particularly in the western world. Women are finding their voices and pushing back against what is expected of them (although there is still a long way to go).

However, not all cultures will be so accepting. I worked in a male dominated field so this was not my experience. However, many women in South Asian households are expected to stay at home in a traditional housewife role. Men are more often than not, the financial providers. And they expect a woman who cooks, cleans, looks after their parents and children in return.

My ex husband thankfully did not fall into this category, however, his mother often made comments like “my son bought this home with his hard-earned money.” She knew fine well that we had split our savings to pay for our downpayment. Yet she seemed to refuse to accept, that I was also an educated, working woman who earned a good living, as well as being a good wife to her son.

Another example of ignorance towards women that I experienced was when my husbands uncle visited our new house. He was an older traditional Pakistani man but I did not expect to be completely ignored in my own home. I tried to interact with him several times and offered him food and drink. I even addressed him in his mother tongue out of respect. However, I was left red-faced when he ignored my existence and continued to address my husband as though I was not present… all because I was a woman.

My ex husbands “suck it up” attitude caused a huge argument when I voiced how I felt about they way I had been treated. If this had happened to my ex husband, I would have leapt to his defense.

Celebrations and holidays will be different

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Holidays become a hybrid of cultures and it’s fun!

Holidays, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Eid, Hannakah or something different entirely, will become a bit of a learning experience. My husband had never celebrated Halloween, so we wen’t all out and decorated the house. And sometimes holidays become a bit of a hybrid of both cultures. I never expected to see pakora and samosas as a starter on my Christmas menu, but that is cross culture right there!

The Second Woman In Your Husbands Life

This is probably not the norm, but was ultimately the reason for my marriage failing. My Mother-in-law was my husbands number one priority. And he made that clear. She could do no wrong and I could set no boundaries with her. That was his mother after all. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my own Mother. We talk everyday and I would never stop my partner from spending time with his loved ones. However, it’s so important to set boundaries of what you will accept. In certain cultures, saying no to your mother-in-law is cause for divorce. This was absolutely the case with my ex husband and his mother.

Now that I have given some insight into my cross cultural relationship, I would love to hear from others about their experiences. I had many positives and learned many things that I will carry with me for life, although my marriage did not work out. I always try to focus on the positives and learn lessons from my past. I’d love to hear your feedback if you have any similar experiences! Thank you as always for reading!

Written by Jade @talkthirtea

Being a Pakistani Divorcee in 2021

I just want to say that not all Pakistani women and families experience whatever I have. Sometimes the stigma behind the south asian culture can cause a rift of what is and isn’t so it’s important to say that my experience is entirely my own. If you relate in any way just know you are not alone and I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

I don’t know about anyone else or if you’re able to relate, but don’t you feel like you’ve had enough of being silent & hearing others bullshit about your marriage? The marriage you tried so hard to save and make work? The marriage they so happen to have the most opinions about?

If you happen to be south asian like me then this might be a hi5 moment as I discuss my experience as a Pakistani divorcee in 2021.

My Parents

Where do I begin? I remember being told at the age of 12 years old by my mother that I needed to learn how to kneed the dough, cook curries and clean my house to please my husband and just in case I lived with my in-laws.

My mother had the privilege of being born in the UK. However, my father was born in Bahrain and raised in Pakistan. So, he was called to the UK, 3 years after being married to my mother. In this case, my mother didn’t live with in-laws, however my father was very cultural and opposed certain laws onto my mother such as not going out on her own, covering her face if she ever visited a certain part of Birmingham and being a housewife. But, soon as we grew up and my father got with the times and watched the generation change where women became more independent and were out there working hard and striving to meet their goals, my father changed.

When it came to my divorce, after me constantly trying to make my marriage work and my father watching me day and night, watching me cry and not eat, he would speak words of comfort to me. Now, not every south asian man or woman gets this treatment and till this day we are hearing and seeing people commit suicide or suffering at the hands of their husbands/wives/in-laws. But, not my parents.

All praises to God, my parents are so supportive.

The following words of comfort and encouragement are some of the things my parents said to me when I was broken and ashamed of whatever was happening:

God wanted you to be happy and that’s why he removed the one thing that wasn’t making you happy.”

Aslong as we are alive, no one can say anything to you or question you about whatever happened.

Live your life and if you want to work and travel the world go for it.”

A good man will enter your life and will support you and love you for the good woman you are.”

My Friends

My friends have been so supportive and kind. Not out of sympathy but because they’ve known me for years on end and know that I would have gone lengths to fix my marriage. ‘Fix’ was not the problem in my marriage, he is a narcissist that couldn’t get fixed.

My friends have encouraged me to start building back my confidence through skin care, getting dressed, putting on some makeup and double dates! And let me tell you, most guys don’t care if you’re a divorcee. I’ve been told my past is the past and they only care about the person I am today. It was an experience that has made me a stronger person.

Driving around the countryside, going to different cities, parks, restaurants and spending quality time with family and friends really is helping me with my mental health and well-being.

Choosing Yourself

It’s really sad that in today’s society women are being forced to stay with abusive partners and to ‘accept’ their fate because ‘daughter-in-laws’ are to take care of everyone and not have a life of their own.

I was always told from my ex that no one would look at me the same after knowing I’m a divorcee because I’m a woman. But, ever since i’ve been back and met new people, being a divorcee doesn’t affect most men’s opinions of you. This really helped my confidence.

I had to choose myself for the sake of my own mental health, to feel secure in my own skin, to be independent and have the choice of having my own bank account (I know, crazy right?) and to be loved unconditionally.

Being a Pakistani divorcee in 2021 has really shown me a different perspective of what other men actually think of you and how the community sees you and to be fair it ain’t all bad. You just have to remind yourself that you’re a bad ass bitch regardless and no one can judge you with this ‘label’ of being a divorcee.

Written by Layla

Feeling Lost After A Breakup? Here’s some tips on what you should do to find yourself again…

Breakups are the worst. They hurt like hell and if you’re anything like me, you might be feeling lost or stuck. Especially if you have tied a lot of your identity to being in a relationship. It is difficult to go from someones wife or girlfriend, to being on your own again.

If you’re feeling lost and low after a breakup, just know you are not alone. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and TalkThirtea has some tips on ways to find yourself outside of your relationship.

smiling woman with red hair
Find your smile again

Take the time to heal

Stop bottling up your emotions

If your relationship was rocky for a while, you might have been suppressing your emotions. I know I was. When things were bad, I was numb. I couldn’t cry, I just felt indifferent. Now that I am out of the environment, some days I am overwhelmed with all of the emotions I’m feeling. It’s actually a good thing and will help you heal in the long run. The longer you bottle up your emotions, the worse the inevitable breakdown will be.

Feeling lonely is normal and you have to accept it as a new emotion that might make you feel uncomfortable. It won’t always be so intense and will eventually start to ease.

It would also do you some good to take the time to be single. Don’t rush to jump into a new relationship before finding yourself first.

Learn to listen to your gut

When you have been in a relationship, particularly if you are a bit of a people pleaser, you often ignore your intuition. It’s easy to change yourself to be more compatible with your other half and compromise. However, this can leave you ignoring your gut. The old saying goes “trust your gut”. If you are newly single, it might take some getting used to. Personally, I have had a hard time making major decisions since my divorce. But I am working on this! Following your intuition can help guide you back to your true self. In the wrong career? Hanging around the wrong crowd? Self-sabotaging when it comes to your goals? Listen to your gut…

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Focus on the things that make you happy

What makes you happy?

This is a simple question, but one we often ignore. What truly makes you happy? And how often are you doing those things? If you’re feeling lost after a breakup, it might be because you are not connecting with the things that bring you joy in your life. Writing is something that I find somewhat therapeutic, so I made a point of doing it most days. Yoga relaxes me, so I put time aside most mornings to practice. The days I skip these little things are the days my anxiety feels at its worst and I feel the most lost.

Set Goals

So you’re single now. Chances are, the goals you already had set, no longer make sense without your ex. So it’s no wonder you are a feeling a bit lost. Time to find yourself… now is the time to reset those goals. What are some of the things you always dreamed of? Maybe its a holiday to Santorini. It might be owning a house by the sea. Or going to University to study. However lavish the goal might seem, set it and write out a plan on how to get there. When I have nothing to work towards, I feel stuck. Setting short-term and long-term personal goals is a good way to commit to yourself and know that you are working towards something for you.

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Do it for your future self

Hold Yourself Accountable

This is the difficult part. Anyone can set goals. But what are you going to do to do reach them? It is easy to lie in bed and say “I’ll start tomorrow” but it won’t get you any closer to your goals. Show up everyday for yourself and work towards being the person you want to be. If you want to be in shape, you’re going to have to get up and put the gym shoes on whether you feel like it or not. If you want to become a business owner, you’re going to have to work your ass off to get there. And nobody can hold you accountable but yourself, now that you are single! Do it for your future self.

Cut out the bad habits and toxic people

It’s time to be honest with yourself. If you are feeling lost, you might be self-sabotaging. We are a reflection of our daily habits and if we are not where we want to be, it might be time to look at what we are doing everyday. Too much sugar in your diet? Time to cut back. Spending too much time on social media? Time for a social media detox. And it might be time to take a look at your social circle and reflect. “If you want to soar like an eagle, you can’t hang around turkeys” The company you keep can have a huge impact on how you feel. If you are feeling lost, maybe you are surrounded by people who don’t align with you. You want to be surrounded by people who love you, inspire you and challenge you to be a better version of yourself.

Ultimately though, sometimes feeling lost in life can actually be a great thing. You might be amazed at the transformation you go through and the person you ultimately become.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves”

Cultural Differences Between the UK + USA

For those of you who don’t know, I spent a large part of my twenties living with my ex husband in the USA and this meant dealing with cultural differenced moving from the UK to the USA. There were many differences I had never considered before and others I expected. Although I no longer live there, there are many things I miss about the USA and things that amused me constantly. For the most part, the cultures are very similar and I had absolutely no issue fitting in anywhere I went but there were plenty of things that took a bit of adjustment!

Obviously America is a huge country and I can only speak from my own experience. I lived in several states (North Carolina, Georgia, New York and New Jersey) and have travelled to many, many more so I like to think I have a pretty well rounded and educated view!

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1. Driving everywhere

Ok, this one is obvious but when I first landed in America, I could not believe the size of the motorways (ahem highways) and the cars on them. Little did I know, I would be doing more driving in a few months than I’d done in 7 years since getting my license in Scotland. Driving from Glasgow to Edinburgh is a big day out for most Scots (46 miles). But in the USA, that was my commute to work! Driving is an essential part of American life (unless you’re a New Yorker.) And public infrastructure is not as great as in the UK. Americans think nothing of 2-3 hour road trips. However, petrol (ahem gas) is so much cheaper over there. Filling my tank cost about half the price! Getting a drivers license is also extremely easy and much less costly.

2. Bigger Goals

The USA is the land of opportunity and Americans dream big. While in the UK, most people are content with paying the bills and a holiday abroad each year, in the USA there is an obsession with generational wealth and making it big. They don’t limit themselves and don’t aim for mediocrity. And if there is anywhere to make it big, it is the USA. In some ways, it is to be envied, their drive to do better. In other ways, it is exhausting and you want them to slow down a little!

3. Food Quality

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The food quality in Scotland and the UK in general is of a much better quality. For a start, American bread is impossibly sweet, eggs are a pale yellow and there is high-fructose corn syrup in almost everything. Standard bread in the UK does not contain sugar, yet you will have to pay extra for a healthy loaf in the USA. If you take a look at the ingredients list on ketchup in the USA vs UK, the list will be much longer with names of things that sound more like chemicals, rather than ingredients.

4. Friendliness

I know this one is very stereotypical, but in my experience Americans are on the whole more positive people. They smile and approach strangers and have no problem striking up conversations anywhere they go. Actually, their friendliness can be a bit startling at first, although something I very much appreciated! That is not to say that Scottish people are not friendly. I pride myself on being approachable and always smiling at passers-by. It’s just that in the UK people tend to keep themselves to themselves a bit more. (Note** the friendliness scale definitely lessened in NYC versus North Carolina and Georgia)

5. Work Life Balance

In the UK we have many more paid holidays, maternity leave and it is not uncommon for people to take two weeks off to travel to mainland Europe each summer. People are chasing the American dream and time off is viewed as a weakness and they take pride in their work ethic. Many Americans won’t take their sick leave for fear that their job will be lost to someone harder working. The work culture there is crazy, although the salaries are much higher in general!

6. Sarcasm/Differences in Humour

We speak the same language sure, but the humour is definitely different. Scottish people pride ourselves on our dryness, quick wit and sarcasm. The UK in general enjoys making themselves the butt of the joke. Risky jokes go down a storm (e.g Ricky Gervais). Sometimes this humour doesn’t translate although many Americans get it. Don’t get me wrong, I love some American comics and sitcoms. The humour is just totally different, a bit more obvious and sometimes juvenile.

7. Trolleys (carts) abandoned in car parks

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When I first went to the supermarket in the USA, I noticed abandoned trolleys in empty spaces in the car park. Some people unload their shopping and just leave the cart/trolley there. This struck me as really bizarre, then I realised there is no charge for the trolleys unless you shop at Aldi in the US! In the UK, we put a £1 in the trolley to use it and we get it back when we return it, so it makes sense that we don’t just leave them. We want our money back!

8. Drinking Culture

The Uk and Scotland in particular is known for its pub culture. Maybe it is due to the bad weather year round, but drinking is a national sport. On a sunny day, people head to the park with a few drinks and snacks. In America, drinking is not so common. Having a beer while watching the game, or a glass of wine with dinner is more the American way. Much more civilised!

9. Hanging out washing (laundry)

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What do American’s have against hanging out their clothes to dry? Even in Georgia, with the sun shining most days, I never once saw a washing line… Everyone uses dryers and as someone from rainy Scotland it still baffles me. There. is nothing nicer than the a good drying day and the smell of fresh washing off the line!

10. Religion

On the whole, the UK has more non-believers, particularly amongst the younger generations. In the USA, religious faith is fairly common and widespread. The South is particularly religious, with protestantism being the predominant religion and people were normally surprised to know I wasn’t religious myself.

Obviously these are just a few of the cultural differences I picked up on and for the most part, I had no issue integrating into American way of life. I haven’t mentioned the American obsession with “drive-thru” everything from banks, starbucks, dry cleaners or the sales tax added at the till. Or the fact that everything is soooo much bigger!

Let me know in the comments below what differences you’ve noticed on your travels. Have you ever experienced culture shock?

Written by Jade

Signs you’re dating a narcissist

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Whether you have entered a new relationship, marriage or just dating, this blog post might help you read the signs that you’re dating a narcissist. This is a personality type that can be difficult to spot. So here are some things to look out for.

What is a narcissist?

A narcissist or someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is normally defined as someone who seeks attention, has an inflated sense of self and who lacks basic empathy for others and/or enjoys exploiting others for their gain. There are a few different types and some are more difficult to spot than others. Overt narcissists are the extroverted, attention-seeking type, while covert are introverted and often fly under the radar.

Dealing with someone with NPD can be extremely challenging and mentally draining. They are very resistant to changing their behaviour. They tend to blame others for their problems, in particular their other half. Setting boundaries with a narcissist is not something they respond well to. And this is especially true if you are in a relationship with one.

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Overt Narcissist vs Covert Narcissist

If you are dating an overt narcissist, the likelihood is that they are the loud one in the room. They demand attention and praise from others due to their inflated self worth. They believe they are more important than others, more intelligent, better looking. Therefore, they see no issue with being the loud and obnoxious person in the room who holds court. The signs can be a little more obvious with this type of narcissist.

If you are dealing with a covert narcissist (sometimes known as vulnerable narcissism), the signs may be less obvious. These people can be introverted and do not possess the same grandiosity and inflated sense of self outwardly. They may even appear modest and reserved. However, long term, their narcissistic traits will become obvious. Particularly to those in relationships with them.

Both of these types of NPD still display the same traits however.

Our Experiences

We believe we have dealt with partners who display traits of NPD, one being overt and the other covert. Here are some traits we found in both men to help you see the signs you are dating a narcissist:

  1. Lack of empathy
  2. They hate boundaries and they won’t respect them
  3. A need to be in control
  4. Rarely admits when they are wrong
  5. Never apologises
  6. Manipulative
  7. Hatred of being called out/confronted

Layla’s experience:

My ex is definitely an overt narcissist. There were times where I would be sitting and eating with his family or friends and he would make sarcastic remarks about the amount I was eating or that I was always finishing the food from my plate. He would laugh and say he was only joking and that he loved me to reassure the people around him but behind closed doors I was being screamed at to “do something about your insecurities!”

There were times when I would be awake from 8am and working till 5pm (remotely). I was also cooking and cleaning but was always getting told by him that I wasn’t doing enough and that I just sit on my ass all day long doing nothing.

When my ex would decide to spend a Sunday with me (we both worked full time jobs and he worked a second job at night so we barely saw each other during the week) even that was thrown in my face and he would FaceTime my father and say things like:

“Look what I’m doing for your daughter” and “Even you couldn’t take your daughter where I am taking her” and “Look your daughter is happy here with me so don’t tell her to come back to the UK”.

This would obviously really upset me because it was disrespectful to my parents. Personally I didn’t like showing off and I missed my family dearly. But my ex would get a kick out of it by rubbing things in my family’s face.

My ex was heavily involved with his culture and always wanted me to be on the phone to his mother every day or to be present in her house every day which I found very weird. But when I tried setting boundaries he would always voice how I was changing his personality and that I didn’t love him enough to take care of his mother.

Jade’s experience:

I believe my ex is a covert narcissist for a number of reasons. It took me a very long time to be able to understand that I was not crazy and that I was the victim of extensive manipulation for years.

He was quite reserved and from the outside seemed very charming. His nasty side always came out when we were alone. However, he was extremely controlling throughout our relationship. For instance, if I wore something that he did not like, he would insist that I change it. If i protested, he would cause a huge argument and guilt-trip me.

He definitely lacked empathy too. When I was taking job interviews and was very nervous, he would tell me to get a grip and “what the f*ck was wrong with me?” He actually told me once “I don’t look at you and think, wow that is my wife” to let me know he was no longer attracted to me.

Whenever I set boundaries with him (e.g. his mother and sisters could not come to stay with us every 2 weeks for 4 nights and take over our home) he would completely transform into a different person. He would scream and shout and tell me to leave… that he didn’t care about me until we got married anyway (we dated for 4 years before marriage).

My ex could never apologise. He joined a dating app while we were married and I found out about it. When I confronted him he got mad at the person who told me. He never apologised or took any responsibility for that and said the other person was trying to break us up…

These are just our experiences in toxic relationships. We are not experts but have seen the consequences of staying in mentally abusive relationships. If you believe you are dating someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or some of the traits we have described, we recommend cutting ties. Relationships with narcissists are notoriously difficult and they may promise you all the changes in the world, but it is very unlikely that they will change. It is better to disassociate yourself from them before you are too invested.

Written by Layla & Jade

“You learn a lot about people, when they don’t get what they want”

Dreaming Big in Your 30s

“What if I fail? But oh my darling, what if you fly?”

Why Should We Dream Big?

It’s time to dream big, even if you are in your 30s. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis after my divorce, or reaching 30 and being faced with a ton of life decisions to make on my own, or the fact that Fleetwood Mac – Dreams has been on my recent playlist, but recently I cannot help but think… dream big Jade.

All my life I have done the sensible thing. I worked hard in school, graduated from university, married and bought a house, got a dog all in my twenties. I worked an office job, saved up and lived sensibly. And after my divorce, I don’t have all the things I once had. But what I do have is big dreams.

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Don’t get me wrong, I have made some bold decisions. I’ve visited 28 countries in my 30 years. I travelled through Europe by train at 19, with very limited funds. I moved to Spain when I was 20 on my own. And I road tripped through the USA, then later relocated there. I got a 6 figure job, just because I applied! So, I guess I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer. But those are the decisions that have shaped me today. And I regret none of it. Every spontaneous trip I booked, every risk I took, I am grateful for. Because it has led me to where I am today.

What Are My Dreams?

I am dreaming of running my own successful online business… Welcome to TalkThirtea by the way! I’m dreaming of owning a beautiful house with a pool on the Spanish coast… of starting a podcast and it reaching millions of viewers and inspiring others. I’m dreaming about being financially free, of being my own boss, of being in incredible shape and getting good at yoga and learning guitar… Of travelling to Japan to see the cherry blossoms and hiking Machu Pichu in Peru. Of owning a cafe by the seaside. And why not? I might surprise myself and achieve my dreams.

Actually, not might… I will achieve them!

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Because Life Is Precious

As the years just keep flying by, I realise how precious and short life truly is. My dad tragically passed away when he was just a young man at 44 years old. I thought he was invincible, that he would live forever and that we had all the time in the world together. And it put everything into perspective. Tomorrow is not promised, for any of us. No matter how young or old.

And what is the worst thing that can happen when you take risks? You die? Well that’s highly unlikely. And you will die one day anyway. You fail? Well, you’ll learn something along the way. Might as well reach for your goals and live a life true to yourself in the meantime. Our time here is finite. So what are we all waiting for?

Because What If?

It is human nature to always think negatively “what if it doesn’t work out?” I’m naturally an anxious person and my mind always jumps to the worst case scenario. But I’m working on thinking positively. So humour me for a second… Allow yourself to think, “what if it all does work out?” Imagine you take the risk. You apply for the job you’ve always dreamed of. You ask the hot guy out on a date. You post that video on YouTube. It might just work out. And if you don’t try it, you’ll never know.

Because Dreaming Small is Boring

This is not meant offensively to anyone. There is nothing wrong with living a “normal” life. Having a house, a partner and a family are things most people strive for. If you are happy in your current situation then all power to you. Some people don’t need to travel, they’re home bodies and content with what they have. They are happy with their 9-5 lifestyle and that is perfect. But, if you’re feeling trapped in your 9-5 office or in a small town that feels claustrophobic, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Maybe you’d rather work with children than sat in an office. Maybe you always wanted a dog, but you keep putting it off because “now is not the right time.” Where is the harm in having bigger dreams? It’s exciting to think of all the endless opportunities that are out there.

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So those are some of my reasons why I am choosing to dream big in my 30s. I am choosing to think abundantly about my life and being grateful for the journey along the way. I’m choosing to let my inner child out and stop fearing failure. I am writing down my goals and envisioning the type of life I want and working towards making it happen. I hope this has inspired you to do the same and allow yourself to dream bigger.

We’d love to hear what dreams you are currently chasing! Leave us some feedback in the comments below!

Written by Jade