30 January 2017

LONDON IN 3 DAYS: THE LAST TRIP OF 2016

Big Ben
London is a beautiful city, and it even looks better during Christmas time. Last year (it feels so weird) I had the chance to visit it with my best friend and we both had an amazing time. I visited London three or four years ago, and I was surprised to recognise some of its streets. There's something about this city that makes me want to stay there forever (well, maybe not forever, but for a long time), so I hope to go back soon.

Planning of the trip: what did we visit?

Day 1: Big Ben and the London Eye, the London Bridge and Oxford/Regent's street (the shopping area around those streets).

Day 2: King's Cross station (we took a picture with the Platform 9 3/4, of course), Kensington neighbourhood and its gardens. Then we went to Camden Town and spend the rest of the afternoon there. Once we got back, we visited the National History Museum and the Science Museum (these were short visits, because they were both about to close once we got there).

Day 3: Buckingham palace, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. Before going to the airport we went to Covent Garden and then back to Camden Town to buy a few things we wanted.
We went to the most popular places, I think that the first time you go somewhere, you need to tackle down those monuments that “need to be seen” and then, if you go back, you can wander around other not-so-touristic spots (does that make sense?). During our holiday, I would have my camera hanging from my neck all day long, stopping every minute to take pictures. I get very excited when there are beautiful things all over the place! So here you can admire London's beauty (just a tiny bit of it). Although the pictures I took only show the “touristic side” of the city, I can reassure you that next time I'll shoot other picturesque areas.
Buckingham palace

Hyde Park
London Bridge

King's Cross station

London Eye
Big Ben from another point of view
I always think that the journey begins when you start packing, even when you buy your ticket. And this trip was special, because I got to experience it with my closest friend. I really appreciate spending time with people I love, and what a better way to do it than being in London. It was my first trip alone (well, not with my parents), therefore, I learned a lot of things. However, what I take with me after this visit is that London isn't only about the Big Ben, the London Eye or the red payphones. London is much more than that. London is watery roads, shy sun rays sneaking trough the morning fog, quiet people, on time underground trains and streets with chalk painted pavements, crowds of tourists, nights in sushi bars, eating Nerds on our way home, buying cheap books in book warehouses... I tend to fall in love with cities, and London has stolen my heart and mind.

14 January 2017

THE BEST WAY TO (ACTUALLY) LEARN ANY LANGUAGE


As a Translation and Interpretation student I'm interested in learning languages and looking for methods that make this process easier. I do not speak many languages (yet), but I'm definitely planning on studying more and becoming fluent on those I am learning now. It has been scientifically proven that learning a language has many benefits such as improving your memory, developing your ability to multi-task... So why not give it a try?

In today's post I want to share a few tips that have worked for me when it comes to leaning a new language from scratch, or even if you already know the basics but you want to get serious about it:

1. Get used to how it sounds by looking at programs, movies, documentaries... Even if you don't understand the words. Watch youtubers whose native language is the one you are trying to learn and turn on the subtitles in English or any other language you do understand. I think it's important that you start to recognise when a word finishes and another one starts, although you may not know what it means.

2. Use apps such as Duolingo during any spare time you have. This kind of apps let you set up daily goals, therefore, you can decide how often you want to practise.

3. Put post its around your house with the translation of the furniture/ rooms... in the language you're learning, this way you will be surrounded by this words all day long and you'll end up learning them. It's true that there's no need to know long lists of vocabulary, but the more words you know, the more things you'll be able to explain (if you know how to use them properly, of course)

4. Learn structures, not single words. Many language have completely different structures that do not correspond with the ones from our mother tongue. Some people tend to translate them literally into the other language, without taking into account the possible changes of meaning. For example, in English, we say: "When is your birthday" whereas on German, the same question would be "Wann hast du Geburstag?", which literally means "When do you have your birthday?".

5. Repeating is the best way to assimilate the pronunciation. I would watch videos and pause them to repeat the sentences so you start to get used to the phonetics of the language. If you don't know a word and you look it up on an online dictionary, listen to its pronunciation, most of this pages have a place where you can click to hear how it sounds.

6. Read short texts that are related with the vocabulary you're studying. At the beginning it will be hard and you won't understand much, but don't be afraid to look up for words and write down their meaning for future reference. As you get better you'll see that it's very rewarding when you realise that you actually understand something foreign language. You can also read blogs, magazines...

7. Colour code. This technique is very useful if you are learning a language that has different genders (Ex: French, German, Spanish, Italian...). Use a different colour for the feminine, masculine and the neutral, so your brain associates it better. I think that colour coding your notes is also helpful when studying the verb tenses and other tricky aspects you need to learn by heart. 

8. Get a pen pal. When you start to feel comfortable writing in that language, get a pen pal from a country when they speak it to practise your writing skills. By doing so you can also learn a lot of things related to the culture, since they are native and they know it first hand.

9. Surround yourself with that language in every aspect. Change the language on your phone, tablet, computer... Visit a country that speaks this language. Spending some time abroad is definitely the best thing you can do, but that takes a bit of time and money.


I hope you found these tips helpful and share some other advice in the comments!! Are you learning any language at the moment/ planning on learning one?

Have a nice weekend :)

1 January 2017

HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR (AND LIFE IN GENERAL) + 2017 RESOLUTIONS



2016 flew by and I'm sitting here looking at my resolutions for this past year and thinking: "Yeah... it happened again, I didn't achieve them at all". I don't know how but setting up goals for one whole year is hard to handle, since 365 days are a lot of time. I usually look through my aims at the middle of the year, around July or so, to see how I'm doing, but this year has been very busy, and I completely forgot that I even had resolutions. Even though 2016 hasn't been my best year when it comes to resolutions, this won't stop me from setting up new goals for 2017 and try to stick to them. 

As you will see at the end of this post, most of my last year's objectives were a bit unrealistic or not very specific. If there's something I have learnt after not accomplishing them is that the most important thing is to have clear and precise goals. Here is what I think that's important to consider before/during/after coming up with your new year's resolutions:

1. Simply have goals. The first thing you need is to actually have goals. Having the right attitude is a must, plus, having something to look forward to is always helpful when you are working hard and you need that extra push.

2. Find someone who has similar goals. Let's say you want to go vegan, then tell a friend to go on that journey with you, therefore you can motivate each other, talk about it and share your progress.

3. Try to do short term goals, such as weekly or monthly goals. If you split up your big goal into smaller goals you are more likely to stick to them. If you want to write a book this 2017, then you could write a chapter every month (do you like the metaphor?). A part from your yearly goals, you can do 30 day challenges to incorporate better habits into your life or cut out on bad habits you have.

4. Be constantly reminded of your goals, whether it is by writing them down or by creating an inspirational board with pictures of what you want to achieve. Don't forget to consider the reasons why you want accomplish certain things, if these motives are strong enough, they will keep you away from giving up.

5. Fake it until you make it, attract what you want by acting as if you already had it. A teacher of mine showed me this TED talk which is amazing, feel free to check it out :)

6. Look for information. Don't just sit there picturing yourself living your dream life. If you want to become a professional dancer, look for places where you can improve your moves, start taking up lessons, go to see other professional dancers, talk to them... It's all about creating a "dance related environment" where you can grow feel comfortable. 

7. Be realistic and specific. Don't say: "This year I will work out a lot" or "This year I will work out every day for two hours". The first statement is very abstract, and the second one is unrealistic. Instead, you could say: "I will work out twice a week for twenty minutes". I think that going too big when setting up new year's resolutions is one of the reasons why we end up not achieving them. Of course, you can dream big, but you need to be aware of your limits.

8. Reward yourself when you achieve those objectives. Hard work pays off :)

9. Don't be too hard on yourself, having goals should be something fun, don't take it too serious! Remember, you're doing it for YOU!


1. Learn how to make decisions: I couldn't say if I have learnt to make decisions or not. However, this year I chose my university studies and I have faced a few choices that had to be made. So, even though I still struggle when it comes to pick what to have for lunch, I definitely consider goal number one as achieved! 

2. Think before I speak: I don't know what I was thinking when I came up with this resolution...Whatever.

3. Stop apologising when it's not necessary: I remember doing really good at the beginning of the year, unfortunately, I forgot about it and now I don't remember if I do it or not. It is true that my mother tells me that I continue to do it, let's see if I do better in 2017.

4. Exercise twice a week: I'm cheating a bit in this one, because although I haven't been working out twice a week regularly, I do have been exercising for long periods of time during this past year. I went running twice a week during September and October and I have also done other types of workout, so I'm pretty proud. I have to keep up with it!

5. Post once a week: there's no need to talk about this because we all know I'm a failure when it comes to sticking to a blogging schedule...

These will be my goals for 2017... Let's see if this year I'm better at them:

2017 GOALS

1. Write at least 20 pages of (good) stories: it doesn't matter if it's a single story or several ones. At the end of the year I want to have written that much.

2. Try out something related with fencing: this sport has always interested me and I have never had the chance to practise it. However, this year, I want to take a chance and give it a try!

3. Improve my German. Reach the B2-C1 level by the end of the year. I have started stying German this September, so hopefully this isn't unrealistic..., I'll really work hard on it, but since I don't know how much will I get better at it, I want to reach at least, level B2.

4. Post once a week. I know I said the same last year, but if I do it for the first 6 months of 2017, I will buy a domain for my blog, so this is something exciting that will keep me going! Let's see if I can make it.

5. Reduce the time I spend with my mobile phone: don't use it before going to bed, avoid looking at it (too much) when I'm waiting for the bus/somebody/train and I have nothing to do, spend the time I would be using it doing other things, such as reading.