I’m In Miami Beach

When it was confirmed that we would be going to Miami for our annual family holiday, I couldn’t help but think of the LMAO song. As a family who has been to America a handful of times, we decided to switch it up this year by exploring a new area. After going to Los Angeles last Summer, Miami had a lot to live up. Santa Monica stole my heart and part of me was gutted that we were not going back. However, I am glad we did branch out as I love to travel.

Though I was anxious about how I would cope with the long haul flight, it went pretty quickly given we were in relative luxury. Stepping off the plane and into what felt like a rainforest was a first. I thought the central line in July was humid but wow, you have not felt humidity like it in Miami. The climate took some adjusting to. 

Room with a View
Isabella Clark ©

Beside the Sat Nav glitch, we had a smooth drive on America's wide roads. Straight onto Collins Avenue was the Faena hotel; where we would be staying for 10 days. Like walking into something out of the Great Gatsby the Faena hotel was a spectacle in itself. Aesthetically, the hotel was very Art Deco which makes sense since it was designed by Alan Faena as well as the help of film director Baz Luhrman. I was in awe at the artwork displayed around the hotel. It gave the hotel an edge over anywhere I have ever stayed before.
Isabella Clark ©

The Faena Bar Menu
Isabella Clark ©

Over the first few days, we spent most of our time by the pool. However, later in the holiday, we realised how lucky we were on those days since we had not appreciated that we were in the peak of Miami’s thunderstorm season. They certainly do not call Miami the "lightning capital" for nothing. Despite only being there for just over a week, we saw a lot of lightning; Bowie would have been proud. Hence, the fantasy of catching a tan became increasingly difficult given how unpredictable the weather was. Needless to say, we resorted to many trips to the local coffee shop, Shepherd Artisan Coffee. The staff were so friendly and accommodating (especially with two vegans). We also took full use of their fast-speed Wi-Fi since the hotel Wi-Fi was down for the first four days. From coffee shop to coffee shop, Shepherd’s Wi-Fi trumped all.

Isabella Clark ©

Isabella Clark ©

Speaking of Wi-Fi, we also took a trip to the local shopping mall Sawgrass Mills whose Wi-Fi network happens to be my Dad’s name. With ‘7 rings’ on repeat in my head and Kiss radio, I was ready for some retail therapy. Sawgrass is home of discounted designer items as well as the classic high street stores such as H & M, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, and more importantly Sephora. It amazes me at how much bigger everything is in the US. Sawgrass felt like a maze trying to get around. 

A Rainy Drive
Isabella Clark ©

During our stay, we also drove to Boca Raton to visit some friends. Boca has such a chilled vibe with its long beaches and forest of palm trees. If you have the chance, I would suggest exploring Boca. 

Whilst being in Miami, I kept up with my fitness by going to the Soul Cycle studio in South Beach. Whether you are a cardio junkie or weight lifter, Soul Cycle combines both. The classes which I attended were certainly hard work, but equally a lot of fun. The instructors I rode with were Rachel, Natasha, Aubrey and Joanna #grlpwr. Each instructor bought so much positive energy to their class. So, if in Miami, I would highly recommend you give it a go! Trust me, it isn’t as scary as it looks. 

Isabella Clark ©

I hope you enjoyed reading about my stay in Miami. Stay tuned for a part two detailing the second part of our family holiday in Orlando. Saying that I may also do another post dedicated to my Miami wardrobe. Let me know! I have made sure to link the places I mention below if you are interested or thinking of going to Miami in the future.

Lots of Love,

Is xxx

          Isabella Clark ©

Summer Depression

 Disclaimer: I am not medically qualified or trained in mental health in any way. All information provided is derived from my own experience alone.

 “Summer depression comes every year
I just want to disappear.” – Girl In Red 

Summer is often posed as the perfect time for reflection and recuperation for those in education. The academic year ceases, the pressure lifts and one is left with a feeling of absolute purposelessness. No essays to write, deadlines to meet, lectures to attend. It all ties to a halt. 

For many, Summer comes as a celebration; a celebration of the fact that you made it this far. I want to congratulate you if you did make it through whether that be uni (as in my case), A-Levels, GCSE’s or even a year out. 

You made it through and that means something. 

But is it enough? 
What comes next?

Time becomes overwhelming. The day filled with hours of guilt for what you could be doing, boredom over what you are not doing and pleasure for what you have previously done. Speaking as someone with diagnosed depression, I particularly relate to the feelings of guilt and emptiness when there is no structure. My body thanks me for the rest I grant it after three terms of running around coffee shop to coffee shop, train to bus. Yet my amygdala refuses to settle; it waits impatiently like a dog ready for its walk. “why aren’t you training me anymore?”. 

I feel like my purpose has been removed. And it gets harder to switch off at night. I question whether I am using my Summer productively or simply waiting:
Waiting for September
Waiting for the deadlines to come round
Waiting for someone to give me permission to Have A Fucking Break!

Countless amounts of times people have told me that I am too hard on myself. Notably, my sister always tells me that I am impossible to “pin down”. Why can’t I just be? Accept that I do not need to push myself at this moment in time. It is like I can’t win. In exam season I lust over the idea of reading for pleasure and having time to do what I want, yet when faced with weeks of unmade plans I feel anxious; desperate to go back to the safety blanket of work and the idea that I am doing something with my life. 

Hence, part of the purpose of writing this blog is to reassure myself or hope that I am not the only person who feels like this. So here I am giving you permission to switch off. You do not need to be doing a million things at once. It is ok to sit and be. Let your mind wander. Allow the day to take its own path. 

After being abroad for two weeks it made me reflect on how busy my daily life is. Always running from chore to job without appreciating what I am actually doing. It sounds pretentious and like I have been watching too much reality television but it is true (probably doesn’t help that my mum is a psychotherapist). Even taking five minutes out of your day to sit down and write down a few things you have appreciated in your day can make a huge difference to your mindset. 
Equally, we can all have rubbish days where we feel like life is testing us. Recently one of my beautiful cats has been in and out of the vets with cancer. It feels like a huge cloud has been hung over the family. Amongst feeling devastated, beside myself I feel anger. Why should such a kind-hearted creature have to undergo so much pain? Why her? Why our family? But I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. After seeing her deteriorate has only made us appreciate Violet and her sister more. And I keep promising myself that we will get through this. She will get through this.

All in all, I feel this Summer has brought me some extremely valuable memories (Miami blog coming soon!!!) as well as some that I wish I could forget for Violet's sake. But I want to be proud of myself in September for getting through the past few months by working with myself. We are only ever against ourselves.

As ever, I am only ever a message away. Thank you for reading.

Lots of Love,

Is xxx

Isabella Clark ©