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 ✌🏼

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

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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

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

Signs you’re dating a narcissist

woman holding her head
Photo by David Garrison on Pexels.com

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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Photo by Thiago Matos on Pexels.com

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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Photo by Jill Burrow on Pexels.com

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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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

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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Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

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

Things We’re Leaving in Our 20s

As we enter into this new decade, TalkThirtea has taken time to reflect on the last decade – our 20s. Like everyone, it has been full of highs and lows and we’ve learned many lessons along the way. Here are some of the things we plan on leaving in our 20s!

Dwelling On The Past

Obviously, this does not mean that we won’t look back at our memories with fondness. Of course we will! However, we are not looking back to punish ourselves on all of the “What ifs” and “Should’ve done’s.” We are at this exact point in our lives for a reason and every choice we’ve made up until today has led us to where we are right now. And for that we should be eternally grateful. No regrets!

Bad Body Image

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Photo by kira schwarz on Pexels.com

Well this one is a tough habit to break, but going into our 30s, we’re done hating our bodies or picking ourselves apart (and if you’re in your 20s doing this, please stop!) We are enough just the way we are. Gone are the days of saying “I can’t wear that until I lose 20lbs” or “I wish I wasn’t so pale.” Our 30s are going to be a decade full of self-love!

Accepting The Bare Minimum

Like most people, in our 20s, we’ve all allowed ourselves to be disrespected in one way or another. Relationships in particular have been disappointing. And we’ve learned the hard way that accepting the bare minimum is a form of disrespect. Nobody should have to beg anyone for the basics, like time and affection! So onwards and upwards!

Self-doubt/Negative Self Talk

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

We’ve survived the first 29 years and we’ve succeeded in plenty of the things we’ve put our minds to. Why wouldn’t we be able to achieve all of our goals in our 30s? Negative self-talk is the biggest hurdle in reaching our goals. We’re pulling down those mental barriers in our 30s.

Comparing Ourselves to Other

Everyone is on a different path. Some people have started families, others have built successful careers. Others are struggling to find their way in life. We’re not wasting any more time comparing our timeline to someone else’s. Comparison is the thief of joy and it’s time to embrace exactly where we are in this moment.

Saying Yes/People Pleasing

It’s uncomfortable to say no to things sometimes. But we’re learning that setting boundaries is an act of self-respect. It is nice to be nice but it’s also nice to say NO. And do what you actually want to. In our 30s, we are done people pleasing while making ourselves unhappy in the process.

Waiting on “Someday”

Someday is today… “Someday I’ll start that business” “Someday I’ll go live abroad.” We’re done waiting on someday. Life is really short and growth really only starts at the end of our comfort zone, so why are we putting our goals to the side and settling for something less while waiting on someday? Not in our 30s! We’re on a mission to smash our goals this decade and seek discomfort!

“Choose to do more than just exist; choose to live.”

Dinner at The Soho Oak Restaurant – West Bromwich, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Before I begin, I need to praise my Indian friend Nav for introducing me to such a delicious cuisine! Since me and my friend are Muslim and she’s vegetarian we opted for the Veg menu! And can I just say it’s absolutely mouth-watering!

I would give this restaurant:

  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Hygiene: 8/10
  • Decor: 5/10
Dinner at The Soho Oak Restaurant – West Brom, Birmingham, UK

We ordered a mix grill platter which consists of Gunpowder Paneer, Veg Kebab, Veg Tikka, Onion Bhaji, Chilli Paneer, Sweet Peppers, and Grilled Onions.

Mixed Veg Grill Platter – The Soho Oak

We also ordered a side of chilli chips which were made in a nice spicey sauce topped with spring onions.

Chilli Chips – The Soho Oak

This next dish is made with soya chicken covered in szechuan sauce!

Szechuan Chicken – The Soho Oak

This Paneer Tikka Masala curry was so delicious! It’s cooked with cottage cheese and rich, creamy tomatoe sauce topped with indian spices! Was so yummy! We had this with garlic cheese naan bread!

Paneer Tikka Masala – The Soho Oak

I would definitely recommend this restaurant as it caters for both meat lovers and vegetarians!

Written By Layla

My PCOS Journey: Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, this is my PCOS journey and story. Before I begin, I just want to praise and acknowledge anyone who gets up everyday feeling optimistic and accepting their PCOS journey. Even though you may question why this has happened to you or feel you may not be worthy of being a mother, know that God or whatever you may believe in has a better plan for you.

Below I explain PCOS and some symptoms I face:

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects women and how the ovaries function. Nowadays it is thought that about 1 in 10 women in the UK suffer with PCOS. It is a hormonal condition and it is not known what causes this. Living with PCOS can be very difficult.

Common Symptoms or Signs of PCOS?

  • Excessive hair growth (face, chest, back)
  • Irregular periods or no period
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Hair loss or hair thinning from the head
  • Increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • High Blood Pressure

My PCOS consists of all these common signs and symptoms except type 2 diabetes (all praises to God). However, when I was seen by a gyno 8 months ago, she told me I was borderline type 2 diabetic. I was in the middle of my emotionally abusive marriage which I know was not helping my condition either!

Anyway, I only ever started my period naturally maximum 3 times in my whole life! Once when I was 11 years old and my period lasted 1 day, again at 15 years old and my period lasted 2/3 days and lastly at 27 when my marriage broke down. But my gynocologist mentioned I may have miscarried due to stress during my marriage breakdown. As you can imagine, living with PCOS and in an abusive marriage was extremely taxing on my mental health.

At the age of 21, having no period was obviously very abnormal. PCOS can run in the family and my cousin had been diagnosed with PCOS so I was pretty sure I had the same condition. However, I was neglected by the NHS when being checked by doctors at the age of 16 and was ruled out as having a “hormonal imbalance”. At 21 I had the same scan again and was finally told I had PCOS. I cried my eyes out because the thought of not being able to have children was daunting.

Toxic Relationship and PCOS

For me personally, I now see my PCOS as a gift. Why you may ask? Without a doubt it has saved me from my biggest regret. My marriage. I know if children were involved my life would have been over because he would have used my kids against me. Being in a narcissistic relationship didn’t help me or my health when I was trying to get pregnant. And thanks to my PCOS, I was saved from an abusive relationship longterm.

My ex husband was adamant that we would have children, despite knowing about my PCOS before we married. I stopped taking my contraception pills and began to see a gynocologist to help me conceive naturally. Unfortunately after some scans and blood tests I was told I would need to go through IVF. IVF is a procedure where the sperm and egg are fertilised outside the body by scientists and then inserted back into the female. This comes with some risks and is very expensive, however, many have been successful.

I would have mental breakdowns due to my ex’s comments on my weight as well as me not being able to conceive. He would embarrass me in front of other people. I had never hid my condition from him but he made me feel like less of a woman due to my infertility. Due to this I became suicidal, and had constant panic attacks. Thanks to good friends and supportive family members (who lived in the UK whilst I was in the US) I managed to escape my marriage.

Also, the pressure of his mother always complaining about me not being pregnant was constantly on my mind. She would make remarks about if me and my ex were using protection and would discuss this with her friends in front of me. I would be so embarrassed and my ex was okay with it. He would defend his mother and tell me she can say and do what she wants.

How to Cope with PCOS

So what do I do, while living with PCOS to cope? I remind myself every day that I’m beautiful in any shape or size as PCOS does make losing weight difficult. My weight fluctuates but I don’t let it bring me down. Yes, I do experience bad days but I try to eat healthily but never starve or deprive myself. PCOS is a mental challenge more than anything so it is very important to keep and have an optimistic mindset.

PCOS does not rule out having children for me. It just makes the journey to become a mother more difficult but I know that God has a plan for me. I surround myself with people who will always love and support me.

It really does affect my mental health and I always try my best to support charities who help orphaned children and women struggling with fertility. This gesture gives my mind comfort that I’m helping those less fortunate than me and I begin to show more gratitude.

I have started to try and drink green juices every morning, I avoid dairy products as much as I can as I become bloated! I was also advised to eat gluten and dairy free products to avoid diabetes and increase in weight. So you might want to look more into that!

For excessive hair growth I have had laser treatment done and it has really helped with my confidence and self-esteem. Laser has many benefits as it also clears up your skin and any hyperpigmentation caused by PCOS.

Remember ladies, having a supportive partner is so crucial when facing difficulties in life especially involving fertility. I wasn’t as lucky BUT not being able to have children doesn’t define who I am as a person or a woman. Just remember after hardship comes ease and if we are not blessed to have children, we will be blessed in other ways.

Written by Layla

Living with Anxiety and Learning to Manage it

Living through a pandemic was not anyones radar at the beginning of 2020 and mental health struggles have increased massively. One such issue is anxiety and it can be debilitating. Here are some our tips for living with anxiety and learning to manage it.

Identifying Anxiety

What exactly are the symptoms of anxiety? Well each person is different but there are a number of physical and mental symptoms that might appear including:

  • Faster heart rate
  • Breathlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest Pains
  • Shaking
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Loss of concentration
  • Worrying
  • Feeling tense
  • Crying
  • Uncontrollable overthinking
  • Dissociation
  • Stomach issues

Everyone experiences anxiety to some level. Perhaps before a job interview, test or during an argument… However, some of us are living with anxiety that interferes with our daily life and can affect our relationships, job performance and studies.

Here are some tips that we have found to be useful to manage our own anxiety:

Write Down Your Thoughts

Something we have found to be incredibly effective, is putting pen to paper and writing. Sometimes just putting your thoughts into words can be cathartic when you feel your mind racing. What is making you anxious? Write it down. This was one of the reasons we founded TalkThirtea!

notebook opened on desk near books
Photo by Ann Nekr on Pexels.com

Get Fresh Air

These last 18 months have been stifling for all of us. Getting some fresh air and a brisk walk outside (even 15 minutes) can really help alleviate some of your anxiety.

Talk It Out

I know when you feel anxious, sometimes you feel like isolating yourself. You don’t want to cause a scene or worry people. However, talking to a loved one or even a professional can really unburden you. They might offer you some advice that puts things into perspective. And people really do care.

Stop and Breathe

If you suffer with anxiety or panic attacks, you might’ve experienced a shortness of breath and sometimes it feels like something heavy is on your chest. Focus on your breathing e.g. 4 seconds breathe in, 4 seconds breathe out… This will help slow down your heart rate and hopefully ease your anxiety.

woman in brown shirt in a bending position
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Practicing Yoga

Personally, I have found yoga to be excellent at reducing my anxiety. I find that the mornings I skip my yoga with adrienne session, are the days I am less centered and feel edgy. And yoga is for people of all ages and abilities and doesn’t always mean headstands. Yoga with adrienne on youtube is an excellent free resource. Please try it out for 10 minutes and see if it helps alleviate your symptoms!

These are just some of the ways we are experiencing living with anxiety and learning to manage it. We are by no means expert on this subject and recommend you speak with a mental health expert. If you have any tips of your own or would like to share your own anxiety stories, we would love to hear from you!

You can’t stop the waves… but you can learn to surf.