Peter Pan in the Starry Night

Hey everyone!😄

Recently, I’ve been working on a new drawing….

I had never attempted to use colour in my art before (well, at least ever since I started drawing in lockdown). This was my take on drawing Peter Pan/Wendy and Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ with a fusion of pencil colours. This drawing sparked a new approach to my artistic style : having more fun while trying something new✨.

Share your thoughts! Hope you have a blessed week ahead 😊!!

Ikigai – Héctor García and Francesc Miralles

Book at a glance…

This book explores Ikigai which is the Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose in life, a reason for living (a raison d’être) bringing satisfaction, happiness and meaning.

Image extracted from Forbes.com

One of the most profound questions this book highlights is ‘why do some people know what they want and have a passion for life, while others languish in confusion?’

Highlights

  • Medical studies of centenarians from Okinawa and ‘Blue Zones’ – geographical areas where people live the longest.
  • The art of staying young while growing old – strong sense of community is just as significant as a healthy Japanese diet.
  • Little things add up to a long and happy life.  
  • Spending too much time seated at work or home reduces muscular and respiratory fitness, increases appetite and limits the desire to participate in activities (sedentary leading to other health problems).
  • Antiaging attitudes – stoic attitudes/serenity in the face of adversity, adopting a positive outlook (common traits found in longest living people).
  • Finding a flow in everything you do– focusing on tasks/hobbies in a distraction free environment and immersing yourself in the experience, dissolves your ego and you become part of what you do while losing your sense of time (Csikszentmihalyi’s research).
  • Never stop learning and cultivate beneficial habits.

Actionable messages

  • 80 percent secret (Hara Hachi bu) – ancient wisdom advises against eating until we are full so Okinawans stop eating at 80 percent full rather than overeating and propelling the body to have long digestive processes that accelerates cellular oxidation.
  • Brain stimulation is important to prevent neuron and neural connection to deteriorate so anti-aging strategies for the mind may help. Intellectual activity, curiosity, and a desire to learn may slow the process e.g playing games, interacting with people, dealing with new situations.
  • Stress – causes of premature aging which wears body down (as per studies). Suggested solutions – meditation, breathing exercises, yoga and body scans. However, the book also argues that a small dose of stress is a positive thing.
  • Get adequate sleep – recommended seven to nine hours.
  • Diet – Recommend ‘eating the rainbow’ which means a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, less sugar, more grains, natural antioxidants, green tea and jasmine tea!
  • Choose to use your feet instead of elevator/escalator – emphasis on being MORE active
  • Mediation – exercises mental muscles and generates alpha and theta brain waves.
  • Live an unhurried life and LAUGH!

Favourite Quotes

The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are the ones who spend more time than others in a state of flow.

We finally land our dream job, but after a little while we are already hunting for a better one. We win the lottery and buy a nice car but then decide we can’t live without a sailboat. We finally win the heart of the man or woman we’ve been pining for and suddenly find we have a wandering eye. People can be insatiable.

The objective of the virtuous person is to reach a state of tranquillity (apatheia): the absence of negative feelings such as anxiety, fear, shame, vanity, and anger, and the presence of positive feelings such as happiness, love, serenity, and gratitude.

Questions to ask yourself:

What makes you enjoy doing something so much that you forget about all your worries that you have while you do it?

When are you the happiest?

Hope you have a great weekend!

Unleash

Hey everyone!

This week, I have new piece of art for you.



The art convey the theme of liberating yourself from anything holding you back. It can be anything, a person, a thing, an emotion or even your own thoughts/mindset. The dragon is a personification of breaking yourself free from it. Plus, I used to read too many fantasy novels when I was younger and watch too much fantasy so guess you can say, unleashing the fantastical creatures in my mind😂.

Follow for more art on art_alifia if you’re interested😁

Hope you have a great weekend!

Benefits of Reading

“More than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination,” one that “causes you to enter an altered state of consciousness.”

– Dr David Lewis
  • Boosts knowledge

This should be no surprise that reading encourages knowledge. In todays world, majority aim to know about a broad range of topics and genres, in keeping up with conversations and reading is always the way to go.

  • Enhances imagination and gives inspiration.

Most readers are great dreamers as reading allows them to delve into their imagination simultaneously boosting it. It also inspires to create.

  • Expands vocabulary and improves speech

Over the years, many studies have showed a strong link between reading and a richer vocabulary. For instance, a study showed gradual improvement of students’ vocabulary and reading skills through reading English newspapers.

  • Promotes mental health and prevents cognitive decline

In one study, participants were asked to read “Pompeii” and as the plot grew more intense, increasing regions of the brain showed enhanced activity. Brain scans revealed that reading stories not only strengthens language processing areas but also affects the reader through embodied semantics in sensorimotor regions by enhancing long-term connectivity. Another study even suggested that individuals that read, have a lower chance of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

  • Develops empathy

According to researchers from the University of Toronto, reading may change certain personality traits of readers. Some results indicate that fictional literature may facilitate empathy.

  • Improves sleep

Another strain of neuroscience by the University of Sussex showed that even six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%, even helping people with Insomnia.

White Horse

It was a sunny day today and as you know it’s a rarity in the UK. So, we spontaneously nipped to the Bratton White Horse in Westbury.

The history…

White Horse is a famous local landscape and the second largest white horse in Wiltshire. The horse sits on an escarpment of Salisbury Plain, simply offering some breath-taking views of the countryside. It is visible from a distance and the locals state that it was cut in the late 1600s originally to commemorate the Battle of Ethandun.

Guide to show the distance and direction from the neighbouring towns

Some pics of moi 😁

As of recently, trying to practice less doing and more being and simply, enjoying the view.

Have you been exploring anywhere recently?

Share your thoughts! Hope you have a great week ahead 😃

How to build self-confidence ♡

Over the last few years, I realised that I have become a much more confident person and I believe that my greatest lessons have been learning from my own experiences. Today, I wish to share some things that worked for me and how I developed and continue to build my own self-confidence.

Growing up, I was known as the nice, ‘shy’ girl. Fast forward, years later, taking part in singing competitions, moving, starting a new life, work experiences, doing things that require talking on-stage, mentoring students, working as a student radiographer.

So, what changed?

  • Become comfortable in appearing foolish – No one actually cares. I learnt to embrace myself wholly, my quirks, differences and projecting it in a better way.
  • Overcome self-destructive comparisons – Sometimes an indication of lack of self-confidence could be insecurity and jealousy from other people’s progress. Always always remember that you bring your own qualities to the table.
  • Confidence does NOT always require certainty – It is knowing, accepting and trusting yourself to handle whatever comes your way. The quickest way to build trust in yourself is doing the things that you promised yourself to do. From what I’ve noticed, a lot of other people’s confidence solely relies on certainty and everything going too smoothly however confidence wavers and then suffers when things do not go the way you want them to.
  • Do things that scare you – This always worked for me. Don’t get me wrong, I made mistakes in the process and learnt from it but it nearly always built more confidence in myself. So, go and grab those opportunities!!
  • If nothing works, I realised that people cannot tell the difference between fake and actual confidence – fake it till you make may help people more than we give it credit to.

* There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence though – some notice the difference and catch themselves immediately if they think they are crossing the line. The key thing is knowing the difference.

Hope you have a great weekend! Stay blessed ♡

Cat in the Hat

Hey everyone!

I wish to share a drawing I worked on recently.

Pets bring so much joy into our lives. In this art, I suppose I was playing around with the idiom as well and went on to do a literal drawing hehe.

Behind the Scenes

I think carefully thinking about the shading and contrast took longer than doing the drawing itself especially the hat but trying to bring more of a realistic touch into them.

You can also check out the gallery here.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Share your thoughts!

Welcome

Hey everyone! 😊

I hope you’re keeping well and manifesting meaningful changes in your life. Well, I am sure we all agree that the pandemic was a turning point for most of us, evoking a spectrum of emotions. The most significant thing I have established is that, paradoxically, change is the only constant in our life.

Well, it’s officially summer here in the UK! I recently finished university, got myself a degree in Diagnostic Radiography and thought that it was time that I focus on blogging again because……. I’ve missed this. During the lockdown, I also re-kindled my love for art and music, and I have been reading. A lot. It is interesting how my reading dynamic has changed over the years and wish to share it more here. I created a page to share thoughts/summaries about books if you are interested (reading made easier = saves your time!). On this page, I aim to document key points of the books I have read which contain tools that may help you better yourself as well. However, I strongly advocate that the only way you can improve your life is taking steps to implement them, no matter how small.

I am back, revamped my site which you can check out now.

Share your thoughts!

Stay healthy x

July in pictures

Hiya Pals!

Undoubtedly, July is my favourite month. I feel like I took initiative in trying numerous new things and visiting new places so I merely wanted to share my outlook through some pictures from last month. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

A visit to Cardiff

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National museum Cardiff (Definitely worth the visit if you adore historical places)

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Art at the Museum

This is also the place where I achieved a greater insight about one of the world’s most famous authors Agatha Christie. I remember playing mystery games about her works such as Agatha Christie End house, Death on the Nile etc when I was younger. However, I later found out that she was, in fact, an author. The museum contains an enormous room dedicated to showcasing her life and her beautiful works.

The city of Bath and University

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70 years to construct!?

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Dessert at Bath Uni residential formal meal (Couldn’t resist the Panna cotta, it looked mesmerizing)

A year older

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Cheeky Nandos

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Ignore the confetti on the cake

Visit to Thorpe Park for the first time!

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Thorpe Park (entrance)

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Stealth ride

Believe it or not, Stealth was the first ride I went on (considering I have never been on a proper roller coaster before). It is 62.5 metres high (205 ft). No idea what I was thinking at the time. I thought I was going to die when I was high up although I enjoyed it nonetheless. What I’ve learnt after riding on several roller coasters : Scream. It helps!

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Thanks for this guys ^^  + the pink cupcakes! (you know who you are)

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I actually enjoyed Derren Brown’s ghost train more than I thought I would. The suspense is the most terrifying yet the exciting part.

UCL Summer School 

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Staying in the heart of London for a week was simply spectacular.

20170802_155413Apparently, this is the lecture room where a scene in the movie Inception was shot. Leonardo Dicaprio came to UCL!? Mind blown.

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West End School of Rock Musical (worth the watch if you ask me).

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Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy UCL

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St. Paul’s Cathedral (I was on a London tour bus when I clicked this picture)

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China Town (Had no idea this town existed until I visited) I would definitely like to visit again.

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Pikachu (It was vraiment cute)

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The architecture in London is simply breath-taking. I mean it (metaphorically and literally)

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The tallest building in London = The Shard

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I thought it was slightly leaning (probably just me)

This is also to all my pals who live outside the UK and love travelling! I hope you have an idea of some of the places in the UK.

~ Alifia

Some drawings

Hey Pals,

So yes, I decided to stalk my brother’s drawings. I also tried to jot down some positive thoughts about what each drawing may tell. It might mean something else to you! Be my partner in crime and let’s explore!

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                                                   Inhale the future…Exhale the past.

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Keep moving forward like an adorable mouse.

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Well, can only think of one thing….life goes on. You caption this.

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Keep looking high like the cute Dinosaur (But sadly, was killed by an Asteroid as the theory goes)

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Every window opens to great possibilities…

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Just watch out.

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It’s okay to cry…the sky does it too. Poor Raccoon though.

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Guess who?

The worst things in life come free to us.

Drawing Creds : My bro Joy. Thanks to him for his beautiful artwork!

Don’t worry pals…I told my bro about this post just before I pressed the publish button. Hehe.

Keep Smiling !

~Alifia.