20 Facts About Me Tag

If you’re an Instagram fiend like myself, I’m sure you’ll have noticed the ’20 Facts About Me’ tag doing the rounds. I saw it and thought it would be a great idea for a fun blog post, a sort of ‘Behind the Blogger’ reveal, as I don’t really have an ‘About’ section on here.

So here are 20 facts about me, from the mainly mundane and somewhat personal to the random and relatively tragic. Some of these things you might already know about me if you know me personally; some things you might not. Enjoy!

1. I have seven siblings…

And only one of them is a bro.

2. My family are from Bangladesh.

Although we have roots in India, Pakistan and supposedly China. I’m a BBB though – a British Born Bangladeshi (I made the BBB letters thing up, but it has a nice ring to it, no?). I would love to do one of those ancestry tests online and find out for sure, but currently I need to funnel my monies to more pertinent things in life, like sustenance.

3. I was separated from my biological Mother for 10 years.

Long story short, I lived with my step-mum for the majority of my childhood.

4. When I was born, I was the fattest baby the nurses at the hospital had ever seen.

This is the tragic one ^_^. I was nearly a stone and apparently all the nurses across and wide at Princess Anne Hospital came to visit and oggle at me because they’d never seen anything like the likes of me before; they were all the more impressed because it was a natural birth! I think I went down in the baby record books or something.

Honestly, my Mum never lives it down. Even to this day, if we ever have guests over at our house, my Mum will happily recall the celebrity baby that I was to anyone, whether they’re willing to listen or not. Regardless of my academic achievements or successful career moves, she will only ever talk about what a fat baby I was and how everyone loved to hold me and squish me because I was so fat. Cheers Mum. Good thing iPhones weren’t around in the early 1990s hey.

5. I am not a fan of my middle name (it’s technically also a boy’s name), so I avoid telling anyone, ever.

Ever wondered what the ‘S’ stood for? Yeh, well, keep wondering.

(P.S. many a time I have been pinned down by people trying to squeeze it out of me, and even threatened with blackmail LOOL). Unfortunately a handful of people know, but I have sworn them to lifelong secrecy (OR ELSE).

6. I was super shy when I was younger.

No one believes me when I tell them this because the impression is that I am super outgoing, talkative and confident. But growing up, I would never speak unless spoken to, preferring to keep all of my thoughts inside my head or inscribe all my philosophical ramblings in my diary. It might explain why I swing between INTP and ENTP on the Myers-Briggs personality types. I believe I am officially what is known on the Internet as an Extroverted-Introvert.

(Side note: last time I checked, I was an ENTP, which means I am thirsty for knowledge, will rip you to shreds in any (political) argument and that I have an uncomfortable relationship with authority. My personality type is known as ‘The Debater‘ – Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving. Famous ENTPs include Sacha Baron Cohen, Captain Jack Sparrow, The Joker and my favourite, Tyrion Lannister).

7. My favourite story of all time is The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson.

It is simply the best! Everything you need to know about why I love it so much is summed up on this post right here: The Little Mermaid, Growing Up, and Sad Endings.

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8. I have a weakness for fine jewellery.

If you want to seduce me it’s gonna be expensive. Joke. Not!

One of my favourite pieces that I own is my gold Cartier LOVE Bangle, which was from the inheritance left to me by my Dad.

9. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was 4 years old.

Cute story: when I was a youngin’ in primary school I painted a red ladybird on a green leaf. My teacher was so impressed by it, she invited the school headmaster, Mr May, to come and see it. He also loved it! I still remember all the kids ooing and aahing around me and me standing proudly next to my painting, smiling, as though the world was at my feet. The painting was framed and hung on the school assembly hall for 6 years after I left! Yes, my ego grew huge!

Another interesting point: in my semi-final year at University (2012), I lived in quite an old house with my friends, the room I had was wonderfully large though, so I had no complaints. I remember in the summer all the nooks and crannies of my bedroom’s windows would be completely flooded with beautiful little red ladybirds; they kept me company while I attempted to revise on the floor, lying in a sea of papers and highlighters. I wish I took photos of it! But Instagram was not a priority of mine back then (fortunately!). Because of this, I’ve always felt that I have some kind of special affinity with ladybirds.

Unfortunately I do not have an image of the ladybird painting, but below are a few I’ve done in the last two years when it was a part of my New Year’s Goals to make a concerted effort to get back into my painting.

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Absolutely love this one  – possibly one of my favourites – and it was inspired by a song.
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This is where I was trying to be more experimental and was inspired by the style and works of Artist Laura Horn (@laurahornart).
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This is the most recent  – my first commission for a friend. It’s based on an image of Godrevy Lighthouse taken from Gwithian Beach in Cornwall. Proud to say it’s the centerpiece in her living room!

10. My favourite food is potato.

I’m a true believer that all good things in life and all the best foods in the world emanate from the singularly spectacular specimen that is the greatness known as the potato.

11. I was given the nickname ‘hot potato’ by my best friend.

When she met me she said I was ‘brown and round and resembled a potato’. I think she added the ‘hot’ in front of it to make me feel better!

12. My go to breakfast every morning is a latte and a banana.

I know this might not sound like much but honestly it is super-filling and usually keeps me going through till lunch at work. On the weekends if I wake up early enough I try and make an omelette to be healthy, but to be honest by the time I wake up on most weekends its time for dinner, so don’t usually have to worry about breakfast!

On the days that I do manage to make it out of bed, I usually head somewhere for brunch with friends or family. One my favourite places in Southampton is a cute little place called Halladay’s Tea Rooms in Bedford Place. They do the best brunches and for really good prices! You’ll see it pop up on my Instagram feed quite often.

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Halladay’s Tea Rooms – probably the most instagrammable cafe in Southampton.

13. I spend far too much of my time in coffee shops.

And I mean far. too. much. And hence, the inspiration and idea behind this blog as a virtual, one-stop, coffee shop. I am sure you will concur, that they are the best places to relax, enjoy some good coffee, read, catch up with friends, sort out life admin, or simply people watch.

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Spend far too much of my time in Coffee #1 drinking expensive coffee. It’s worth it though. I think. Perhaps. Maybe. #flatwhitesforever

14. I lost a total of 4 stones back in 2016.

Went on a crazy diet – wouldn’t recommend but 2016 was a pretty awesome year for me in terms of hitting lots of goals and milestones.

15. I’ve been practicing my photography since 2013.

Back in 2013 I decided I wanted to give learning more about photography a go, as I had very little time on my hands as a student to keep up my art (my trade is mainly sketching and painting). I entered a photography competition on a whim, using a small Nikon digital camera I had at the time, and after doing some editing on my mac, I sent it off. I completely forgot about it until I got an email in my inbox saying I had come second place! I used the prize money to purchase a Canon DSLR, and I have been practicing ever since 🙂

Downing Chapel Door
The competition asked us to submit photos of the college and surrounding areas in a ‘different light’. This is a close up of the door handle on Downing Chapel – absolutely loved the detail! (2nd place, Downing Photography Competition, 2013).

16. I wear Invisalign.

I have been wearing invisible braces since March 2017. I’ve wanted to get braces to fix my odd fang tooth for ages, and I decided to go for invisible braces because people still think I’m about 16 when they look at me (working at a University does not help, although I’m not going to say no to student discount when it’s offered to me #woo). I feel blessed that I have baby-face genes but honestly, wearing train tracks would just be too much for me as a working professional in a relatively mid-senior management level role. I love what Invisalign has done to my teeth so far though – they are looking much straighter, neater and whiter – but it’s defo a chore having to take them out and put them in again every time I want to eat. And no, contrary to popular belief, it does not make you lose weight -_-.

17. I used to have a ginger cat called Ginger.

When she gave birth to four baby kittens, I called them Sporty, Baby, Spicey and Scary. Yeh. I thought I was super cool and cute doing that.

18. I studied the degree of my dreams at the University of Cambridge.

Not many people know this, but I originally wanted to study Psychology at the University of Oxford. I grew up wanting to go to Oxford, purely because it was so renowned. I knew very little else about it. But far too late after I had enrolled in sixth-form did I realise that I didn’t have the right AS-Levels or even good enough GCSEs to apply. At the time, I had chosen a broad scope of AS-Levels: Government & Politics, Psychology, English Language & Literature, English Literature, Law, Media Studies and General Studies (it was compulsory people), mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind, so decided to go for everything that took my fancy. I soon realised I loved studying Government & Politics and Psychology in equal measure, and hated the fact that I might have to choose between them at degree level.

Fortunately, my Oxbridge Tutor, realising my dilemma, pointed out whether I had considered Social and Political Sciences (SPS) at the University of Cambridge. The answer was simply, no, I had not. I was only considering Oxbridge in the first place because of my ridiculous promise to myself about going to Oxford when I was young, and also because all of my friends were applying and I felt left out. But I didn’t really have the grades – I didn’t have the average number of A*s required at GCSE, nor any promise of good AS-level results (when I started sixth-form I was getting U’s and D’s in my assignments -__- ) – the leap from school to sixth-form was not going great for me during those first few months, especially since I’d just started working full weekends, and had signed up to do more AS-Levels than was necessary.

She explained to me that the course combined Politics, Psychology, Sociology and Social Anthropology all in one – so I wouldn’t have to choose between the two. When she said this, it was like flashlights went off behind my eyes. It was as though someone had sat in front of me, asked me what I liked, and then created a course designed specifically for me. It also included Social Anthropology – a subject that I was becoming increasingly fascinated in. I’ve always been super interested in studying all things people and society, but tribal culture or cultures removed from Western Civilisation with their unique societal structures and rituals, was even more incredibly interesting to me.

However, she then looked down my report on the computer screen and was like ‘errr’ – ‘You need to get grades like this girl to even consider applying.’ She whipped up a new tab and I looked over. All I could see was ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ – YEP – ACROSS EVERY ROW, ASSIGNMENT AND SUBJECT, EVER. The worst thing was I actually knew the girl! Then she flipped back to my report screen – which was pretty much BLANK BLANK BLANK U, D, E, E, E and an odd B. I remember sort of sitting back in my chair and sighing inwardly – thinking ‘I HAVE TO APPLY; THIS IS THE COURSE OF MY DREAMS. MY DREAMS PPL.’ I smiled and said goodbye to my Oxbridge Tutor before walking down the English corridor, at the end of which I bumped into my best friend. She had wanted to apply to Cambridge since school days to study Chemistry – she’d always been very academic, had all the grades and was ready to apply and give it her all. I was happy to see her and announced joyously ‘I’m applying to Cambridge too, woo, we can go there tog!’ She stopped, and looked at me, and was like: ‘You have 0 chance of getting in.’ What are best friends for aye if they aren’t gonna lay it to ya straight?

I’m always grateful she said those words to me, because it made me so hot-headed, so angry, that I had that exact same reaction that Elle Woods has in Legally Blonde when her ex-bf tells her she shouldn’t be at Harvard. I went home, opened up my textbooks with a proverbial bang and got to work. As with all other members of my family, we’re highly motivated when challenged outwardly. I think it’s a great trait to have, but it can make us incredibly stubborn and obsessive-borderline-crazy at times, in our determination to prove others wrong or accomplish our goals.

By the end of that year, I had achieved 7 A’s and also A’s in every module across all of my subjects – this my Oxbridge Tutor reminded me – was necessary to be a serious contender, as Cambridge looks at all module results. After she saw the grades I’d achieved at the end of my AS-year she took me a little bit more seriously! I am what Cambridge term, a ‘late bloomer’, she said (i.e. lazy unless otherwise motivated lol).

In the end I applied to Downing College at Cambridge (as it had no entrance exams and my best friend was also applying there too) and I got to study the degree of my dreams ❤ . It was incredible to be taught by some of the academics that I had come across in my A-Level Psychology textbooks (Professor Michael Lamb ❤ ) and leading theorists in Politics, and I absolutely loved challenging people and talking through their ideas. Although I went through some incredibly challenging periods during my time there, I cannot ever deny how much I loved my course and only wish the degree was longer!

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Outside Senate House, Cambridge, whereby I officially gained the credentials BA MA Cantab.

19. I love thoughtful gifts more than anything.

When I left for uni, my best friend gave me a silver necklace with our faces engraved in a heart-shaped glass stone; my Dad gave me money towards my first Sony MP3 when it first came out way back when and it was all the rave (because he knew how much I wanted it); and more than anything, I love beautiful copies of books and poetry collections. I adore the latter especially, as it shows that someone has thought of me specifically and of what I would enjoy. Over the years I have been given some wonderfully thoughtful gifts, and I treasure them above everything else I own.

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A birthday gift from my dear friend Matthew ❤

20. I have a list of life goals that I am working towards.

After I finished University in 2013, I sat down in Starbucks with one of my best friends, Tom, who as usual, turned up two hours late, to discuss and plot out our life goals. Although at the time it wasn’t really a serious endeavour at all, if anything, more in jest and to pass the time whilst I contemplated what I wanted to do now that I had no uni, and what I could see as a jobless future in front of me.

Miraculously, 5 years on, I have actually managed to tick off a fair few things on that list, including moving to and living in London for a year, passing my driving test, working in publishing, travelling to Rome, completing a professional qualification, losing weight and a host of other things. That list of life goals must be working on some subconscious level because as the years move ahead I am finding that I am managing to tick off more and more things on it! So now, Tom and I go back to that list annually to see what else we wrote on that dreary-white grey afternoon as we sat over our cold coffees (I imagine – I can’t actually remember) to see what can be achieved in the year ahead. To be honest, I refer to it a lot more than Tom does, considering I had two and a half pages worth of life goals and he had half a page, most of which I came up with myself (haha).

One of the key goals I remember writing down is that I want to have a portfolio career during my lifetime, including being a published author by the age of 30. I have been working on writing in my spare time for a number of years now and undertaking writing courses wherever possible. It’s amazing what opportunities can come by when you put yourself out there, and this goal might become a reality for me sooner than I anticipated. Can’t reveal all just yet, but wish me luck and watch this space! xx


Featured header image/graphic of my face produced by my younger sister, who is a trainee teacher by day and a graphic designer by night: @jamilaquadirart

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