January.

4.2.18
Though I get to celebrate the birthdays of several family members, January isn't one of my favourite months. It's long, it's cold and the excitement of a new year doesn't last that long. Having said that, I've had a pretty good January...

WHAT I READ


Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba

I made it my mission to read more this year and this one has been on my list for a while. I've almost finished it and it's been an enjoyable read. It's the perfect book for creative working women in need of a bit of inspiration, advice and tips on building a successful career. Some of it may seem like stuff you already know, but reading it from another perspective (especially from one as highly knowledgeable as Otegha) helps drill it into your mind.


WHAT I LISTENED TO



Birds And The BEE9 - Sampa The Great

Appropriate title because her music is great. Bye River has been on daily repeat throughout January, as has this whole mixtape. I love her fusion of genres paired with the poetic lyrics and her flow. She's definitely one to watch. Rhymes To The East is another recommendation.

I've also started listening to Otegha Uwagba's podcast, In Good Company, which - like her book - is full of practical advice for working women and I've really been enjoying it so far.

WHAT I SAW


I finally made it to Basquiat: Boom For Real at the Barbican and I was quite disappointed. It was inspiring to see such a wide variety of his work, but the vibrancy and the energy in Basquiat's work weren't reflected in the space; it felt sterile, lethargic and could've been any random exhibition.
I went on a private view for under 25-year-olds, so I expected it to be buzzing, but people were whispering and tip-toeing around...it just wasn't what it should've been in my opinion. But it was amazing to learn more about him as an artist and his influence on art, music, fashion and New York in general.


WHAT I DID

I booked my second solo trip, woo!
As soon as I touched down from my first solo trip, I was already planning my next one. It's great to travel with other people and I do enjoy it, but having the complete freedom of doing what you want, when you want without having to plan for/with other people just can't be beaten.
Planning to travel with other people can be a long process and things keep changing and never get confirmed and #aintnobodygottimeforthat (bringing it back in 2018)
If you want to go somewhere, just go. Solo travel is life.

How was your January? Do you have any podcast recommendations?
Though I get to celebrate the birthdays of several family members, January isn't one of my favourite months. It's long, it's cold and the excitement of a new year doesn't last that long. Having said that, I've had a pretty good January...

WHAT I READ


Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba

I made it my mission to read more this year and this one has been on my list for a while. I've almost finished it and it's been an enjoyable read. It's the perfect book for creative working women in need of a bit of inspiration, advice and tips on building a successful career. Some of it may seem like stuff you already know, but reading it from another perspective (especially from one as highly knowledgeable as Otegha) helps drill it into your mind.


WHAT I LISTENED TO



Birds And The BEE9 - Sampa The Great

Appropriate title because her music is great. Bye River has been on daily repeat throughout January, as has this whole mixtape. I love her fusion of genres paired with the poetic lyrics and her flow. She's definitely one to watch. Rhymes To The East is another recommendation.

I've also started listening to Otegha Uwagba's podcast, In Good Company, which - like her book - is full of practical advice for working women and I've really been enjoying it so far.

WHAT I SAW


I finally made it to Basquiat: Boom For Real at the Barbican and I was quite disappointed. It was inspiring to see such a wide variety of his work, but the vibrancy and the energy in Basquiat's work weren't reflected in the space; it felt sterile, lethargic and could've been any random exhibition.
I went on a private view for under 25-year-olds, so I expected it to be buzzing, but people were whispering and tip-toeing around...it just wasn't what it should've been in my opinion. But it was amazing to learn more about him as an artist and his influence on art, music, fashion and New York in general.


WHAT I DID

I booked my second solo trip, woo!
As soon as I touched down from my first solo trip, I was already planning my next one. It's great to travel with other people and I do enjoy it, but having the complete freedom of doing what you want, when you want without having to plan for/with other people just can't be beaten.
Planning to travel with other people can be a long process and things keep changing and never get confirmed and #aintnobodygottimeforthat (bringing it back in 2018)
If you want to go somewhere, just go. Solo travel is life.

How was your January? Do you have any podcast recommendations?
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La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia in all its beauty...

DISCLAIMER: I had this post ready a few months ago, but felt it would be inappropriate to upload it considering the recent attacks and the unrest. Barcelona is a beautiful city and though we live in scary times, we can't let hate stop us from exploring new cultures, countries and people.

These three La's frequently popped up when I was planning the itinerary for my trip to the Catalan city last April. Yes, it's great to go off the beaten track but there's some things that can't be missed...

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

I'll be honest, I wasn't too bothered about including LSF in my itinerary as I'm not that into churches/cathedrals (so I thought), but a trip without visiting the most popular attraction might be a waste, so I changed my mind and WHAT a great decision that was.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, construction began in 1882 and is still going on to this day. These photos do zero justice; Google it or better yet, visit yourself because it is a masterpiece; one of the most spectacular buildings I've ever seen. Tip: buy your ticket online beforehand to avoid long queue times.

La Sagrada Familia
Local crafters

La Ramblas

La Ramblas stalls

Your typical tourist market. Overpriced souvenirs, an abundance of postcards and your not-so typical genital-shaped plants that you can grow at home.
I was staying quite close to La Ramblas and having passed it quite regularly, I don't think it was ever quiet during the day. It might not be an absolute must, but it's well-known so at least you can say you've been (though shop elsewhere as it's pricey than most places!)

La Boqueria




Fruit stall

The inside market was INSANELY packed. We lasted about 5 minutes before realising we weren't going to move very far, but definitely got a good feel for it and saw some great displays. Chocolate flip-flops, anyone?

Have you been to Barcelona and if so, what else would you say is a must-see?

The Three La's of Barcelona

22.1.18
La Sagrada Familia in all its beauty... DISCLAIMER: I had this post ready a few months ago, but felt it would be inappropriate to up...
Cascais beach

November isn't one of my favourite months, mainly because it's always super cold in my city, so being on the beach in 19 degree weather was a welcome change.

This beach is located in Cascais, a cute little fishing town on Lisbon's coastline. I didn't see much of it as I was also visiting Cabo da Roca, so on my next visit, I'd like to explore it a bit more. 

Cascais beach

Having checked the weather before I left, I still managed to be an idiot and wore black jeans and a jumper whilst most people were in shorts and bikinis...but the beach is my favourite place and couldn't leave without spending at least an hour soaking up the sun. I then made my way to Cabo da Roca, which meant a sand-filled 30 minute bus ride.

cabo de roca

Cabo da Roca is the most westerly point of mainland Europe and that's probably the only reason to visit. There's not much to see and you'd probably spend an hour here at most, but it does provide Insta-worthy pics, so I suggest going when visiting Cascais or Sintra as it's accessible from both.

There's very little protection around the edges of the cliffs, so trying to walk whilst you're holding a camera and a tripod with a bit of wind takes a lot of concentration. 

cabo de roca

cabo de roca

It was one of my must-sees for my trip and I recommend anyone visiting Lisbon to add it to their itinerary, especially if you're on a budget as it's free to attend (though the bus fare is €4 each way)

Have you been to Cabo da Roca? If not, would you want to visit?

Cabo da Roca: the edge of Europe

9.1.18
November isn't one of my favourite months, mainly because it's always super cold in my city, so being on the beach in 19 degree ...
Page one in my bullet journal is my word for 2018.

Happy New Year! (It's not too late to say that, is it?)

From turning 25 in Barcelona, starting an exciting new job and going on my first solo trip, 2017 was a pretty good year for me. Though it started off a little difficult, it was my most productive and progressive year and I made positive steps towards achieving my goals.

At the beginning of a new year, I like to reflect on the progress I've made over the past 12 months and what I still need to do over the next 12 months and beyond to get to where I want to be.
Resolutions are set and very often failed, so I like to set myself 'would-likes,' as I perform better with a goal in mind.

Out of everything I did last year, going on my first solo trip was by far the highlight. At the end of 2016, I set it as a goal but I doubted that it would actually happen. But it did and I'm super proud :)

I plan to travel more this year and I'm definitely going on at least one solo trip.

In other news: blogging consistently hasn't been my thing as I've mentioned and I completely missed my 2 year blogiversary in November! 🤦🏾‍♀️
I am hoping to be more consistent in 2018, though it'll be a pretty busy year for me, but I've got a new camera and a new motivation for blogging and hope to at least stick to my fortnightly schedule. 

I will continue this momentum throughout 2018 and I'm looking forward to it!

Progress.

5.1.18
Page one in my bullet journal is my word for 2018. Happy New Year! (It's not too late to say that, is it?) From turning 25 in Ba...

When planning my trip to Lisbon, Sintra was top of the list.
It's often referred to as the "Portuguese Disneyland" and after visiting, I can see why.

Sintra is located around 40 minutes outside of Lisbon and is easily accessible via the train. The main attractions are dotted across the steep hills of the picturesque town but thankfully, the 434 bus was designed for visitors to see all the sights.



I went during the low season and on a Monday, so it wasn't overcrowded but was still fairly busy. I arrived early afternoon, which isn't enough for all five sights, so my top choices were Castelo dos Mouros and Pena Palace, both of which I had plenty of time to explore.




The Castelo dos Mouros was one of the highlights of my trip and provided me with some of the best views. Again, great views come at a price as there's a lot of walking involved, but definitely worth it!




Pena Palace is responsible for Sintra's Disneyland comparisons and was an absolute must during my 6 days in Portugal. My camera died and isn't the greatest, but it still captured the beauty of the architecture.

Quick tips:

  • Go early in the morning and on a weekday if possible 
  • Bring extra cash for the shuttle bus to Castelo dos Mouros (or walk up another hill)
  • BRING FOOD - other than the town, there's hardly anywhere to eat around the sights 
  • Buy a combined ticket for the sights as it's cheaper
  • There's a lot of walking involved, so wear comfortable shoes
The architecture, the details, the nature - Sintra is a beautiful town and will definitely see me again.

Sintra: The Jewel of Portugal

11.12.17
When planning my trip to Lisbon, Sintra was top of the list. It's often referred to as the "Portuguese Disneyland" and aft...

It's only been a few days since my first solo trip and I've jumped right back into work, so I'm still processing it. Update below!

Upon my arrival, I was greeted with sunshine and palm trees, so I started my trip on a good note. I stayed in Alfama, one of the older and STEEPEST districts, and as beautiful as it was, my calves have never worked so much! 


Public transport is super effective and WAY cheaper than London but the Portuguese city is best explored on foot, so comfortable shoes are an absolute must  if you plan on sightseeing and especially if you plan on visiting Alfama.

I took a fairly different route to and from my Airbnb almost every time due to the maze-like streets - basically I kept getting lost - and discovered some pretty cool artwork and cute cafes by the dozen.

My favourite thing about travelling are views like this. I could do nothing else on my travels but see views like this (and eat, of course) and I’m happy. Viewpoints are dotted across the city; São Jorge Castle has some of the best.














I took virtually no photos of any food as it was so good, I dived straight in. Bacalhau was my favourite, a fish cake of sorts, and as a lover of seafood, my options were endless. Salmon, cod, prawns, sardines...endless.


Confession, though I did plan on trying a pastry from Pastéis de Belém, I didn’t because that queue wasn’t worth it for I’d probably dislike. Next time.











I find it quite difficult to condense a trip into a blog post without it being super long or dragged across several posts and found making a vlog much easier. I have more photos over on the 'gram.

Upcoming Lisbon posts on Sintra, Cascais and the best in street art, so stay tuned.
mayanotmya.com

I'm going on my first solo trip and I'm happy, I'm nervous but I'm mostly HELLA EXCITED.

At first, I was hesitant to tell anyone in case it didn't happen...which is silly because solo travel has always been something I've wanted to do and was always going to do.
During the booking process, the discovery of this quote felt perfectly timed and it instantly entered my top five:

'You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea.' 

Living in Europe provides so many opportunities for quick and affordable travel and having lived in the continent my whole life, I've hardly ventured into it. Thanks to Brexit and everything else, there's no time to waste.

Travelling solo, especially as a black woman, can be quite daunting, but it can also be quite liberating (or at least I hope so). I've always been someone who likes to do their own thing and feel I was made for solo travel.

I'll be spending 6 days in Lisbon, Portugal and though I have a list of things I want to do, I don't want to follow a strict itinerary. I just want to explore and enjoy the city (follow the 'gram for stories and photos.)

Have you travelled solo before?

I'm flying solo

13.11.17
I'm going on my first solo trip and I'm happy, I'm nervous but I'm mostly HELLA EXCITED. At first, I was hesitant t...