The Dark Place

Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day. Depression is something we don’t talk about half as much as we should because at some point or other it will affect us all. 

I remember a time years ago I was at ATP surrounded by friends and I could not stop crying. I couldn’t listen to music. I couldn’t read a book. I couldn’t watch a film. I couldn’t write. I could barely take a photo. All I could do was stare into the abyss of the television whilst some reality show glared back. All these things I desperately enjoyed doing robbed from me. Shaziya who loves music, books and films and diving conversations about all of the aforementioned. 

It still comes in waves and I sit with it him or her I darent even give it a name to give it a name would be to admit to it, to hold it in reverence to acknowledge the hurt that comes with the infinite sadness. To say it leaves you stuck is an understatement. The flat stays messy as the thoughts whirl about in your head but thats just what they are thoughts. Thoughts that happen to be taking up space in your brain, space that could be filled with ideas and plans but space. Space, sometimes the biggest thing is to get out of bed to listen to a band you (I) adore. Sometimes you feel a sense of gratitude when you have have a shower. Sometimes and space. Sometimes you could spend an evening with friends yet still go home and cry into your pillow sometimes. 

So you do the things that make you feel good. You lie in bed and finish a book and remember a time when that just wasn’t possible. You listen to an album because right now that album reflects exactly how you feel and there was a time when all you could listen to was middle of the road rock which is not soothing or something you (I) enjoy. You watch THAT film because there was time all you could watch was rom coms and you generally hate rom coms unless its THAT time of the month or there ironic or not shit. You cook a healthy meal because is anything better than cooking?  You work out because those endorphins are addicitive and the moment you stop you….. You go for a walk with your camera because the happiest place for you (me) is taking photos and there was a time….. There WAS a time but that time is not now. You call your friends and talk because you are surrounded by people who are lovely and love you and you know that you’re better talking to others than letting yourself simmer with it. However sometimes the most wonderful thing is to be alone, sipping tea and writing because you love writing and creativity is the thing that makes you you.  You look down at your wrist and remember why you have THAT tattoo. You put on THE red lipstick and THOSE boots because this time it won’t she/ he/ it won’t win. You are far stronger than you believe and you have come through so much. 

If you are going through something tell someone don’t suffer in silence. 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

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Chicken & Mushroom pasta. 

Sometimes all you want is soul food, food thats comforts you and eases you into whatever you’re doing. Chicken is my least favourite bird, however combine chicken, mushroom, panchetta and goats cheese and you have something that simply tantalizes those tastebuds. This recipe is easy and just as spicy as you want it to be (note I like my food VERY spicy!). 

You will need: 

  • Diced chicken breast. 
  • A selection of mushrooms (button and the bigger ones) chopped. 
  • Chopped panchetta. 
  • A chopped chilli. 
  • Chopped onion. 
  • Chopped spinach. 
  • A hunk of goats cheese. 
  • A hunk (loaded spoonful) of cream cheese. 
  • Black pepper and cayenne (again depends on taste) 
  • A chopped clove of garlic. 

Method: 

Once you’ve resisted the urge to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression (after all the talk of chopping). Saute your chopped onion with some olive oil, the garlic and the chilli and add alittle water to the pot along with the stock so as to not burn the pan. The onions should be vaguely sauteed by now so add the diced chicken, mushroom and the goats cheese. Let the chicken and mushroom simmer adding water as and when needed. After about say 10 minutes add the cream cheese and panchetta, let it simmer further but be careful not to let the pan burn. I gave it roughly another five- ten minutes and added the chopped spinach, black pepper and cayenne. By now you should have something that smells delicious, serve with pasta and a glass of whatever takes your fancy- enjoy!  

Shaziya Niamh 

 

Hope is Made of Steel.

Remember the days when you would listen to album on your disc man so much the cd ended up scratched and over used? That became your obsession, you knew all the lyrics and all the chords to every song even the dirty little track that came on ten minutes after the album officially ‘ended’. In an age of Spotify and Itunes, I miss those days.

Then an album comes and draws you back in, becomes the thing that wakes you up and sends you to sleep, it is your life line of lullaby’s.

For me, right now Hope is Made of Steel by Northcote is this album. Every song is fuelled with a catchy Springsteenesque quality and hints of positivity. Its stadium rock but less cheesy, in short its just really bloody good and worth listening to regardless of whatever genre holds your soul.

Go listen!

Shaziya Niamh xo

 

Heres to another f@-!ing New Year! 

2014 was horrific, all the bad things in one. 2015 has been the year of….. stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, middle of the road….stuff. I write this still recovering from the flu thats lingered for the last week, watching Masterchef and I can’t find the words to describe this year because it is what it is. 

This year has been the year I learnt to like myself abit more, got to know myself better and learnt to really   to really love not in the romantic sense as I stopped looking, but my friends and family. I feel stronger, more content and ready for whatever 2016 has in store. 

The Danish have this wonderful term hygge which I absolutely adore, it means taking pleasure it means getting cosy. For myself that means lighting my candles, long walks, cosy mornings and evenings reading books and watching films in bed. I’m using this week to fully recover, indulge, make plans for the year ahead and fully embrace hygge. 

Heres to a healthy, happy 2016 full of utter wonder! 
Shaziya Niamh xo 

                   

Roasted tomato, basil and quinoa risotto. 

  

Colder days are on here and I for one am very happy! Don’t get me wrong I love summer and the endless days and longer nights that come with it, but theres something comforting about Autumn. Cooler climes mean comfort food and as you may have gathered I love abit of comfort food. 

This recipe stemmed from a craving for roasted tomato soup, a new lust for basil and a need for something healthy. As always I researched and had a vague idea of what I wanted to make before I made it. Personally I like it simple with just a handful of spinach mixed in but you could add alittle something extra if you wanted. 

You will need: 

  • A jar/ carton of passata. 
  • 5/ 6/ 10 vine tomatoes (pending on how much you want to make) 
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic (depends on taste I like my food REALLY garlicy!) 
  • A handful of basil. 
  • One- two cups of quinoa. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil. 
  • A vegetable or chicken stock cube. 
  • A chopped white onion. 

Method. 

Drizzle a roasting tray with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, add the chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil  roast in the oven on a high heat for about twenty minutes or until they look roasted. In a pot simmer your chopped onions with alittle olive oil (you could also use the one cal spray) add chilli if desired and once golden brown add you stock cube and alittle water. Pour the passata into a bowl and add the roasted tomato and garlic using a blender blitz until smooth, add the mix to the onions and simmer. You could have this as a roasted tomato soup, but if you fancy something with a bit more substance add the quinoa. Add alittle more water and cook until the quinoa goes translucent. 

Enjoy with a glass of wine or warming cup of tea! 

Happy Saturday. 

Shaziya Niamh xo

Alittle piece of lovelyness on Brixton Hill. 

  

Months ago I went for coffee with my friend Shona and you know when you meet up with a friend at a place but you don’t have any idea where to go or really what to do. 

Well thats what happened that day and it led us to stumble upon a really nice cafe on Brixton Hill called KataKata. This place serves up delicious juices and crepes that are both vegan and vegetarian friendly. Given my general lactose intolerance eating out can be a minefield, I find cheese makes me bleed and wheat makes me sleepy, which means I have to think outside the box and makes me adventurous by accident! 

Anyhow, Katakata is a little piece of heaven the staff are really friendly and although I had a delicious juice and hot water with lemon this time next time there will inevitably be a crepe with my name on! 

  
So next time you’re in Brixton be sure to check out this place! 

Happy Monday! 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

Humans of New York. 

Humans of New York was started by a bloke called Brandon way back in 2010 and has become a global phenomenon. If you haven’t heard of him before he takes photos of the people he meets (usually in New York) and asks them A question and the answers can be anything from utterly heartbreaking to completely smile inducing!, either way they tell a stories we can all relate to on some level. 

Brandon’s on his holidays at the moment and (lucky for us) instead of lounging by the pool he is outthere traveling and bringing more stories to our attention. 

He is currently over in Pakistan the Hunza Valley to be exact. I went over (to Pakistan, not the Hunza Valley specifically) when I was 11 going on 12 and though my memories of that time have faded slightly. However, I do remember just how beautiful a country it is and was. Its often depicted as a horrible place but what I love about his photos and stories is that he is really showing the true beauty of Pakistan. 

I don’t know half as much about the Pakistani side of my heritage as I would like to but his photos have made me feel really connected to the place and people. 

Shaziya NIamh xo