London diaries (extended) 

Majestic. Vibrant. Imperial. 
In every sense, London can be summed up in those three words. You enter London through one of the most chaotic but also grand scale international airports. It’s an overload of British accents ranging from Cockney to Manchester and a funny combination of Brirish as I coined it (British and Irish). It’s a working mess of double decker buses and black cabs with their partitions weaving in and out. 

London is any big city lover’s dream. Noise. Rush. Excitement everywhere. For me, stepping out on the streets of London was like stepping out in Sydney. I was at home immediately. Granted, pedestrians are intense and road crossings don’t make that familiar buzz to let you know it’s safe to cross. But that being said, even in my jetlagged state, I was at home in a city so far from home. 

London has mastered marbling the old and new. The historic and contemporary. Chanel, Dior, Sephora and H&M take residence in architectural masterpieces. Walking the streets is like being immersed in multiple periods of history at once. 

I started my whirlwind romance with London at perhaps a fitting place. From the hotel situated in the heart of Mayfair, my family and I ventured towards Westminster, to look at the sights of London that make the city so exciting. We weaved our way between the graves of Newtown and the kings and queens of England to have our breath taken away by Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. 

To this day, I still can’t comprehend how such architectural marvels were made all those centuries ago. When our buildings today barely stand the test of time, structures like Westminster abbey were built when health and safety didn’t exist, wars and plagues were rampant, and there was nothing holding onto the builders constructing high up into the sky. 

I think having come from 27 hours of airports and aeroplanes, for us to have conquered Westminster and Tower hill, we did pretty well for our first day in London. After that, I’m not quite sure what went down, but all I remember is sleeping until 4:30am the next day. 

On our second day in London, we were firstly treated to a wonderful brekkie buffet, which was greatly appreciated by all. We then decided to conquer the London tube and test out our touristic navigational skills to get to south Kensington. Our whole day was spent amongst various periods of history, weaving in and out of continents and countries by admiring their art, textiles and jewellery in the V&A museum. We then decided to change things up, take trips down memory lane to the fun side of science classes from school and immerse ourselved in the wonders of the natural world at the Natural History Museum. 

For me, there’s nothing thaf can hold me back from taking a photo with a t-Rex, standing in a seismic room and walking amongst the weird and wonderful that inhabited and currently inhabit earth alongside us. It was a sensory overload, and I haven’t had so much fun in a museum in a very long time. 

Day three in London was spent in oxford. A short coach ride landed us in the heart of oxford. We spent the day walking the streets of this beautiful university town. We walked the same streets that many of our traditional and contenporary artists, politicians and law makers have made. After ascending a tiny, twisted staircase to the top of a university chapel, we were greeted by some of the most amazing panoramic views of the colleges and surrounding suburbia of oxford. The whole experience in oxford was mind blowing. From the history to the architecture, the appeal of this gorgeous university town has stuck with me. 

Finally (and regrettably) our last day in London arrived. After a leisurely breakfast, we decided to walk around Mayfair, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square, take in the sights and have a relaxing morning before our afternoon departure to Paris. I tried champagne mangoes (which were absolutely divine), enjoyed the most beautiful gluten free pistachio cake with a cappuccino made so well it rivalled the coffee I drink in Sydney, and got to interact with local shop keepers and wander through the mazelike connection of alleyways.

 I think it quite a perfect way to end my whirlwind romance. Our four days in London gave us a taste of what this marvellous city had to offer. And I can’t wait to come back so I can maybe drive out and explore the counties as well. I can’t wait to return to London. I hope I can come back soon because London really has stolen my heart. 

xx Simran 

LONDON DIARIES

Firstly, excuse how vacant I’ve been since June started and finished. In the midst of finals, a wedding and packing for Europe, publishing took a little step aside. But I have been continuously writing. 

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I’m posting from a vantage point in Paris as I wait for the Bastille Day fireworks. I thought it would be a great time to look back at the beauty of London and how little justice I did to the city. A whole Europe post will come when I’m back home, but here are my photo diaries: 


Walking the streets of this stunning city made me fall so in love with it. I can’t wait to return. 

Xx Simran 

NEW YEARS EVE 2016

 

It really is no doubt that Sydney has the best fireworks displays. I rang in the new year in style. It was a night filled with great food, the greatest friends, timeless memories and wondrous photos.

taken 31/12/16 – 1/1/17 on an iPhone 6S Plus

xx Simran

What does creativity mean to me?

Perceptions about life change drastically when you’re on holiday. And my most recent trip to South Africa has been no different. It’s been life changing. And it’s been life changing for all the right reasons. South Africa has retaught me what it means to be creative.

 

So what is creativity?

 

When we’re young, we’re taught definitions, frameworks and ideas about what creativity is. Creativity, to quote a dictionary definition, is the use of imagination or original ideas to create or recreate ideas, objects, people, thoughts, feelings and settings. When we’re young, creativity is at its purest and most innocent. Our skies are red and orange. Our hills are made from ice cream. We live in tree top castles and have dragons for pets.

 

But as one grows older and matures, it’s almost like our creativity is drained from us. Much like how one would drain a bathtub of water. Speaking from personal experience, I was told during my first lesson of English in high school, back in 2010, that as I progressed through my higher education, I would slowly lose my creativity. And as testament to my teacher and mentor who told me that, it has happened. My imagination is so lackluster now. My imagination has become rusty with age and disuse. My reliance on analysis and attempting to find the deeper meaning of words, phrases, images and texts has left me with this slightly suspicious, cynical view of the world. I can no longer watch movies and television shows without subconsciously analysing what’s in front of me on the screen.

 

But to contrast this, I do still possess the ability to think outside the box. While I now combine analytics and logic, I like to believe I still have that childlike creativity and imagination – imagination that’s pure and untainted and so wonderfully different.

 

But it is sad to see where my creativity has ended up. I’ve become almost desensitized to the beauty and vivacity of the world. The innocence and purity of our imaginations have been lost, and we can no longer picture the yet to be discovered, the imaginary and the intangible.

 

In a world that’s moving so rapidly and progressing so quickly, the norm is to leave the creativity and beauty we all once possessed, in favour of statistics, facts, data and analysis. We’re all so hung up on being current and being relevant that we’ve all forgotten our imaginations. We’ve forgotten the feeling of discovery. We’ve cast aside the creativity we all possess and we can no longer jump through worlds, leaving reality for even an hour, where we immerse ourselves in our creativity. Through whatever means that may be.

 

So how has South Africa enabled me to rediscover my creativity and imagination?

 

South Africa is like no other country I’ve ever been to. The landscape resembles Australia, with vast open spaces, beautiful landscapes and a vast sense of community. But what really strikes me is that while the country modernizes and dramatically changes so much, people have still stuck to their creative roots.

 

I think what sticks out in South Africa, is that creativity is innate. It isn’t taught or articulated. It isn’t forced or pressured into seeping out.

 

South Africa displays creativity as an art form in itself. It’s free, vocal, explosive, loud, but so subtle and engrained in culture at the same time. South Africa has taken freedom of expression and simultaneously worked to eradicate the systemic cultural oppression that riddled society from the 1940’s onwards, and provide voice as a means of healing and expression to allow voices to be heard in society. Through creativity – media, art, sculpture, painting, textiles, jewellery, clothing to name a few media,

 

Throughout the two weeks I spent in South Africa, I was greeted to the sight of creativity that steps away from the typical means of coming up with ideas and things that are new and innovative for the purpose of boosting an economy or making money. While on drives and hikes and walks, there would always be a shanty styled structure well stocked with local art, ranging from sculpture to jewellery and paintings.

 

Each piece that I admired and each piece that I bought tells its own story. The artist intricately weaves tales of deception, pain, suffering, joy, mirth, wonderment and love into the different pieces they create. Sculptures depict a child’s coming of age through a complex amalgamation of stone woven together to depict the loss of innocence and the gaining of maturity, crafted perfectly with hand. Tapestries spill stories of transcending hardship, suffering through the Apartheid, losing children to HIV/AIDS and losing loved ones to violence to find fruition and purpose through creativity.

 

The most majestic part of these stories is that none of these stories are told through a piece of paper. Every story created in an artwork is left to the interpretation of the admirer. By allowing the admirer to use their brain and try and understand what the amalgamation of thread and bead, or stone, or hemp and wood means, South African artists have proven to remain true to the definition of creativity and the joy of being able to lend voice to a talent that’s meant to be celebrated and appreciated by all.

 

Creativity has become a tool for these African artists to tell their stories. To educate the public about their hardships. And to share the joy of their successes. For these artists, it isn’t about the need to make a profit or to become successful and economically stable. For them, creativity transcends the traditional definition and allows the voices of hundreds of thousands of individuals oppressed by the traumas of social and racial prejudice to be heard.

 

But how has learning about creativity in South Africa influenced my understanding of it?

 

When I look at myself, I see a young woman studying and working, who is so entangled in a web of numbers, marks, facts, data and analytics. And while there’s beauty in perfectionism, I’ve noticed one serious deficiency in my life. And that’s creativity.

 

By being able to watch these artists combine the tenacity to let their voices be heard, and the dedication to their craft and their talents, I’ve come to realise that all of us need to step away from hard fact and data and reopen the childhood talents we’ve left behind. To see adults so in tune with their creativity has encouraged me to set aside time where I let go of my priorities and workload and just let myself be. Let my creativity be seen and heard.

 

Creativity doesn’t get lost with time and age. Creativity gets locked and pushed to the back of your mind. But much like riding a bike, you don’t ever forget how to be creative. You don’t forget the ability to play an instrument, hold a paint brush or write a story. Yes, the finesse in your technique might lack, but by continually revisiting your creative outlet, helps you gain the confidence to let go and just be your own creative self.

 

To be able to harness creativity and use it is one of life’s greatest skills. To tell stories and weave emotion and delicacy into a creative outlet is something we all possess. We just need to revisit our creative abilities.

 

We just need to find a way to let our creativity be seen and heard once again.

xx Simran

SOUTH AFRICA TRAVEL DIARIES (PART THREE)

Uni is making me so frazzled right now, and work is starting and basically I’m overwhelmed in the second week of semester. Perks of doing a double degree and overcompensating on extracurricular activities and work. My regrets with my choices are high right now. 

PART THREE IS HERE! These photos are the culmination of the trip. These photos are from Cape Town, Sun City, Mosselbaai and a little bit of Johannesburg I think. Enjoy! 

Wrap post and a lot more coming ASAP! 

xx Simran 

SOUTH AFRICAN TRAVEL DIARIES (PART TWO)

W00 continuation of the photos from Africa! These are a mix of DSLR (Canon 60D) and iPhone 6S Plus photos.

Places visited: Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Tsitsikamma, Storms River Gorge, Knysna

 

Part three, and a whole trip wrap up is coming soon as well!

 

xx Simran

 

SOUTH AFRICAN TRAVEL DIARIES (PART ONE)

BEFORE I BEGIN, A HUGE APOLOGY WITH THE HIATUS. FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS, I’VE BEEN IN SOUTH AFRICA WITH BARELY ENOUGH WIFI TO CHECK MY UNI RESULTS AND OCCASIONALLY UPDATE INSTAGRAM.

BUT I AM BACK!

This first post (the first of many), captures our first three days in South Africa. We were hiking around Pilgrim’s Rest, Graskop, Mpumpalanga and then took a drive to Kruger National Park. Once I download and sort through all the photos taken with the DSLR, I’ll upload them as well. I think Kruger deserves a post of it’s own, because it was such a wonderful experience.

I will also be writing a whole summation post about my experience in one of the most stunning countries in the world. So all of that is yet to come.

But for now, here are the photos taken with an iPhone 6S Plus, detailing some of the wonders found at the places we visited, listed above.

And yes, I have included one giraffe because he was too gorgeous to not include. I named him Gerald and he is so precious.

Hope you guys enjoyed this round of images. There are so many more to come!

 

xx Simran

In nature

We travel, not to escape life; but for life to not escape us.

9:00 am sharp. It’s 15 degrees outside. The Audi is packed. The road trip playlist is already blasting. We have a stash of the best snacks with us in the back seat. We’re decked in Autumn-winter beauty: Ponchos, gorgeous knits, jeans, gold jewellery and boots. We’re ready to party hard all the way to the Blue Mountains for our biannual escape to Mount Tomah.

Every time I return to Mount Tomah, I fall more and more in love with the place. It isn’t just about the nature, the tutti fruitti ice cream or the best alcoholic cider I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. It’s about the sense of serenity I gain. It’s about the peace and calm and innate beauty that comes back to remind me that there is so much beauty and perfection in our world. We just have to go searching for it.

*all photos taken with an iPhone 6S plus. There’s something satisfying about capturing beauty with the touch of your finger. While I love my DSLR to bits, and my canon is my baby, learning to capture good quality images on an iPhone has brought an immense amount of satisfaction*

 

After going through hell with my health and midsemester exams, this escape was so worth everything. All we needed was our family, good food and the want to go and find ourselves in nature.

Withdrawals from paradise are real.

xx Simran