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Life, Scotland, University

We’re moving to Edinburgh!

April 27, 2017

View over Edinburgh from Edinburgh castle

Last week, we got the news we’d be waiting on since the start of February; the University of Edinburgh made me an offer on the best masters course I’d found.

I cannot tell you how many times I have refreshed my emails over the past two months, or how many times I’ve logged into their applicant hub hoping to see an update. The stress and hassle of my current university who don’t seem to understand what an interim transcript is and my tutor and I having to make one because they’re so useless. The anxiety Daz and I have had, stressing about how close it was getting and all the things we need to do and we still don’t have a decision. It was all lifted. I could have cried; but I didn’t because I am not human.

Well, I say the stress was lifted. It was and it was quickly replaced with a load more stress and things that need sorting.

Daz and I spent a few days in Edinburgh towards the end of last year when they had a postgraduate open day and we both fell in love with the place. I love Scotland, I love Edinburgh and the university was everything I thought it would be and more. Some of the buildings look like they’re straight out of Hogwarts; which I guess they kinda are since J. K. Rowling was living in Edinburgh when she started writing the books.

View of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

The course is my dream course. Friends and family kept asking me if I’d applied anywhere else and I kept saying “no, because no where else does a course that is anywhere like this one. I have to get in because everything else seems pointless in comparison.” It was, of course, the most expensive course I could have applied for but the way I see it is that it would have been a waste of money doing a cheaper course because it wouldn’t get me where I want to be. The optional modules are all so exciting and I CAN DO A MODULE ON FORESTS! I cannot tell you how excited I am for that. I love forests.

Having lived in my hometown all my life, I’ve visited places and yearned to experience what it would be like to live somewhere else. Especially somewhere so fancy-looking, I mean Edinburgh has a huge castle on a hill (Ed Sheeran?) that is always in the corner of your eyes. What I also like about Edinburgh is that it isn’t so busy that it overwhelms me and stresses me out; though I’m told it will be completely different when the Fringe Festival is on.

I’m looking forward to living somewhere new but I am very comfortable where I am, as is Daz. The thing I am most nervous about is leaving my current job and finding a new one. I love the people I work with, it’s like a family. I am worried that wherever I end up working in Scotland (Hard Rock Cafe, I’m coming for you…goals) won’t feel quite the same.

Of course I will also miss my family and friends. There are plenty of ways for us to keep in touch though, and none of them appear remotely unhappy about the prospect of visiting us in Edinburgh.

It’s a really exciting next chapter that seems full of a lot of unknowns at the moment but I’m sure things will become clearer over the next few months. We’re also both seriously excited about getting to explore Scotland on our days off because it is all kinds of beautiful.

It sure is a weight off.

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Photography, Scotland, Travel, UK

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

June 11, 2015

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

I have a bit of a thing for finding a high point in a city so that I can look over it, and get a good view of the whole city. When we went to Edinburgh in April, a trek up Arthur’s Seat was at the top of my list.

We were blessed with a gloriously sunny, fairly still day, which made the trip even more enjoyable. 

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

To start with, we got lost trying to find the top. There were a couple of paths, but no clear signs, so we followed the one that looked most used. 

It turned out that it wasn’t quite the path we wanted, as this one just went around Arthur’s Seat instead of up it. We weren’t going to complain though because it provided us with beautiful views over Edinburgh, including the glorious Edinburgh Castle. 

Edinburgh Castle from Arthur's Seat

View over Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

Interesting fact: In the photo above, on the right hand side, in the grass, you can kinda see a couple who were full on going at it. 

View over Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

After getting about halfway round on the path well worn, we decided to turn back around and went in hunt of the path up to the top. We found it, and it turned out to be a little treacherous. You know the kind of path that just looks like it’s desperate to break one of your ankles? 

On the way up we were passed by a bloke who was running. He was running up something that I was out of breath from just walking up! It was so steep. Major props to him, he must have been fit as a fiddle. 

At the top, we were treated to spectacular views over Edinburgh. 

Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

View from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

View from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

We sat at the top for a while and drank in the view. I love being able to view a city from above, you spot things that you don’t see while your wandering around the streets. 

I always find that memories of cities from afar, like this one, tend to stick with me a little more than 

Do you like seeing places from above? 

Travel

Edinburgh Castle + the Hard Rock Cafe

January 15, 2015

Edinburgh Castle at night

Edinburgh Castle in the day

Edinburgh Castle is a majestic looking thing; it sits perched on a rock watching over the city. 

The castle looks pretty impressive from the front but when you go in through the castle gates, or see it from down on Princes Street, you realise how big it is.

It’s a huge, sprawling castle with paths that take you off in different directions.

My favourite part of any castle is never the inside. It’s the grounds, where you get to look at the beautiful buildings and down on the area surrounding it. It’s in moments like that where I can imagine for a second what it would have been like to live in the castle in it’s heyday.

View of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

View of Edinburgh from the castle

The most impressive thing inside the castle was actually something you aren’t allowed to take photos of; the crown jewels.

They were absolutely stunning and every bit as lavish as you expect they would be, but annoyingly it was very, very busy in that particular room. That’s understandable, of course everyone wants to see the sparklies, but I think perhaps there should be a system in place where only a certain amount of people can go in at a time.

After we’d finished at the castle we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. I do not consider that I’ve actually been to a country if I haven’t visited the Hard Rock Cafe there and I their collect t-shirts / hoodies.

The staff at the Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh were great and as usual, they complied with my awkward request to have the twisted mac n’ cheese without the chicken and as usual, it was amazeballs. (There I finally said it in a sentence!)

I also surprised myself by trying something new (I don’t do that very often at all); a strawberry and basil lemonade. It was delicious, I keep meaning to try to make my own.

I completely forgot to take a picture of the Hard Rock Cafe itself because I was distracted by this beautiful building next door. I think it was a fancy restaurant. I don’t really care what it is, to be honest, because look at how beautiful it looks with all those Christmas lights on it.

 

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Life

My summer to do list

June 8, 2017

Pastel sunset sky

Daz and I could barely believe our eyes when we saw this at work a couple of weeks ago.

With my last exam over, and daily refreshing of the results page in full swing, I find myself faced with what might be the last summer break I have. 

Minimise

For years I have loved the idea of being a minimalist but it wasn’t until I moved in with Daz that I realised I had a lot of things I just didn’t need. I have zero plans of taking things I don’t need to Edinburgh with me so one of my main missions this summer is to donate or sell things I don’t use or need. My bookshelf has already taken a battering (I never thought I would say that) but I have a lot of books that I honestly won’t ever read to start with or won’t read again. I have discovered and become a little obsessed with eBay; though I do hate the trips to the Post Office, which I’m pretty certain is actually inside a sauna not at the back of my local WH Smiths.

 

Read more

University made reading for leisure pretty hard. I’m not going to lie, I actually do enjoy reading journal articles about the chemical composition of soil in and around gravesites but it’s not quite as relaxing as reading Harry Potter. Plus, your friends look at you a little odd when the answer to “what did you do last night” is “read about how nitrogen levels in soil changes when bodies decompose in it.” It’s a touch darker than “watched Orange is the New Black.”

 

Exercise more

At the beginning of the year I really got into hot yoga, and my back loves it, but my work schedule at the moment makes it really hard for me to go, unless I want to get up at 7am and I just don’t. I’m trying to get into the habit of practicing yoga at home and want to get out and go for pokemon walks walks more often. That last one really isn’t hard since we live so close to a forest.

 

Spend more time with friends

When you’re at school, you don’t even have to try to spend time with your friends. And then, all of a sudden, meeting up with your best friends requires military planning. Since I’m really going to struggle to see my friends regularly while we’re in Edinburgh, I want to make as much effort as possible to spend time making delicious cake and playing Pokemon Monopoly (it’s so much fun by the way) and Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit.

 

What are your plans for this summer?

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Mwnt, Wales, Photography, Travel

Mwnt beach, Wales

June 6, 2017

Mwnt Beach, Cardigan

Mwnt beach has featured very close to the top of my ‘favourite places’ in the world list for years.

Last week, I was talking to an American couple who had been traveling around the UK for a few weeks and were headed to Wales next. They hadn’t got any solid plans yet and made the mistake of asking me for recommendations. I barely need an invitation to wax lyrical about Mwnt at the best of times, so I think they were a bit taken aback and soon regretted asking. I hope they went and saw it for themselves because it is such a wonderful place. I hope they went and tell all their friends about this beautiful little beach some crazy lady in their hotel told them about.

I first went there over ten years ago when my Nan took me, my sister, and my cousin on holiday. We stayed in a little cottage just up the road from the beach, and we would spend the day in the sea, building sand fortresses with moats and my cousin had an odd habit of collecting jellyfish in a bucket…There’s a hill on one side of the beach, which we used to climb up every night to call our parents. (If they thought they were escaping us by sending us on holiday, they were wrong. Not even rubbish O2 signal on a Welsh beach is going to stop me annoying my Mum.)

The second year my Nan took us away, I think she was expecting to go somewhere else but we loved the place so much we badgered her to go back. I’ve been back a handful of times since then, the last time being with Daz last summer. I would love to pop back before we head up to Edinburgh but it’s looking very unlikely at the moment.

For me, visiting Mwnt beach is almost like a pilgrimage. A lot has happened since my first trip there over a decade ago; I’ve passed exams, I’ve made friends, I’ve lost friends, I’ve had arguments, I’ve mustered the courage to stand up to people, I’ve quit uni, I’ve finished uni, I’ve worried a lot, but I’m still here.

Do you have anywhere like that in your life?

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Share The Love

Share The Love | April 2017 Edition

May 4, 2017

Share the love April 2017 edition

I feel like April has been a long month, not in a bad way it’s just that a lot of things seemed to have happened since March’s edition of Share The Love.

My dissertation was handed in at the beginning of the month (and that feels like so long ago now). Daz and I climbed a very steep hill near us, and I found out that I am super unfit. After a lot of email refreshing, I received an offer from the University of Edinburgh to study there and since then we’ve both done a lot of stressing and research into everything we need to sort before the start of September. I’m currently up to my eyes in revision; thankfully, I only have one exam though it’s a good job because this is a really hard one for me. I haven’t done any chemistry this complicated in about six years so I am really working hard and hoping it pays off.

 

BLOG – Jasmin Charlotte

Jasmin’s blog is not a new one for me, I have probably been reading her blog for about two years and I think I might have already featured it in a Share The Love post way back when. I would check, but I’m writing this instead of revising so…

Her blog is a great mix of travel, lifestyle, tech and blogging tips, and she loves space too (I always love a fellow space nerd). I always feel kinda cosy when I read Jasmin’s blog (maybe because I’ve read it for so long) because her posts read like a conversation and she writes some seriously thought-provoking posts, like why sometimes hard work isn’t enough and that’s ok. I also feel like Jasmin is one of the very few blogger who does sponsored content properly. It never feels contrived, it reads naturally and seems like something she would talk about anyway.

 

LINKS

10 travel bloggers share their favourite place on earth – Life With a View | A little tip of the hat to myself as I was featured in this roundup. I bet you can guess where I fangirled about, right? I always enjoy finding out what places other people love, so this is a fun read, even if you’re sick of hearing me talk about Canada.

How to do a successful spending freeze – Oddly Lovely | Cat is back blogging and I am so excited about it. For the past year, I’ve been visiting her blog about once a month just in case she snuck a blog post up without me knowing and now she’s back. It’s like a dream come true. And she also has some excellent tips on saving money, who doesn’t want that?

I fail everyday – Sustainably Vegan | I think that when you’re aiming for anything (it doesn’t even have to be related to a diet or a way of living), it’s important to understand that even when you see what you think is a perfect representation of whatever you’re aiming for on social media that the people behind that content fail too. Failure is good for us when we learn from it.

5 revision study tips – Ways To Study | I don’t know about any of you, but I am all about revision at the moment and any tips to help me get the best out of revision are always appreciated.

How to have a less wasteful makeup routine – Not So Quiet Grrl | Yet again, Nadia features here because she’s bringing some great tips to help me reduce waste.

6 easy ways to spring clean your blog – The Scarlet State | It’s time to clear out the cobwebs.

Why is it so hard to be self-promotional if you’re a woman? – The Everywhereist | Once again, Geraldine raises an excellent point and makes me laugh and seriously think about it at the same time.

 

 

WATCHED

The end of April was Fashion Revolution Week, which encourages us all to think about the people who make our clothing, and the conditions they work and live in as a result of fast fashion. After seeing Nadia mention that she’d watched True Cost documentary, I decided to give it a watch and was horrified at people trying to justify the way “the system” currently works. It sickened me and it makes me so angry that people and the environment are being treated horrendously because fast-fashion retailers want more profit.

It isn’t a nice subject at all and it made me feel sick to my stomach that I’ve been a part of it, we’ve all been a part of it; we can’t keep burying out heads in the sand. It’s time to learn, question, and criticise anything we’re not happy with.

 

LISTENING TO

Oh, it has been a good month for me musically. Paramore released Hard Times, which makes me want to dance badly; though, that is the only kind of dancing I’m capable of doing. Pvris also announced a new album and released Heaven, which I cannot get enough of either. All Time Low also released the third single off their next album, Life of the Party. I’ve pretty much been listening to those three songs mostly.

 

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How was April for you?

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Life, Travel

I cannot deal with big cities

February 23, 2017

Natural History Museum London

Last week, I went down to London with my university for a trip to the Natural History Museum and was quickly reminded why I do not like London; it. is. too. busy.

That’s not to say I’m not a city person at all because I’ve visited and loved some beautiful cities, like Edinburgh, Reykjavik, and Stockholm. What I can’t deal with is cities with people everywhere.

Honestly, we got off the coach and in approximately 10 seconds there were far too many people for my liking. I hate that feeling of being surrounded by people and having to bustle your way through crowds, and get touched by strangers, eww. That’s not my thing at all and makes me feel claustrophobic and a bit panicky.

Cities I do like feel kinda half empty. They might be geographically big or small, but you can walk down the street without walking into people and can easily stop and take in your surroundings, without feeling like you’re in someone’s way.

A good rule of thumb for me is kinda like how teachers used to tell you to space out during PE lessons in primary school; if you hold your arms out and you’re touching someone, you’re too close. If I can (mentally, obviously because actually doing it would look weird…) put my arms out and not hit a stranger, we’re good; there’s enough room here and I’ll like it.

Ideally, I would move to the edge of a lake, at the foot of a mountain, and live in a cabin with my only neighbours being deer, moose, and the odd bear. I know, I might have to forgo Domino’s delivery, but I think I could deal with that.

What about you? Do you like busy cities?

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Life, Travel

Longing for the wilderness / pining for the fjords

September 17, 2015

Strone Hill, Scotland

There’s the consuming ache inside of me to wander to some remote place and just be there. It’s like that itch you get to have a new piercing or get another tattoo; you have to scratch it.

I remember being aware of my mortality as a kid (who wants to think about Barbies when you can worry about life being too short?) and wanting to travel the world to explore new cultures and scenery has always been something I’ve placed a high importance on.

My eyes are greedy, and there are so many places I long to see.

I can’t be doing with modern day busy life. It’s hectic, it’s a mess, and all we hear day in day out is terrible things going on in the world. I want to just get away from that and be away from the ‘outside world’.

When I went to Scotland earlier in the year, it felt just like that. It was just me, my Mum, and Tom exploring and appreciating beautiful scenery. Though we went to towns, and even popped into Edinburgh, most of the week it felt like we were removed from civilisation, and that was so nice.

Maybe you call it burying my head in the sand, and perhaps it is to a certain extent, but it’s nice not to hear about all the terrible stuff that’s happening in the world.

Most days, I feel like I’m just not wired right for modern day life. Sure, I love technology but I wish life was easier and simpler. I’d love to spend my days exploring nature and the wilderness.

Who says I have to sit behind a desk forever? Who says I can’t go adventuring and exploring beautiful and stunning places where there’s no trace of civilisation? No gaudy skyscrapers or advertising boards. Just miles, and miles of mountains, trees, or water.

  • I want to explore forests
  • I want to watch a sunrise from the top of a mountain
  • I want to kayak across beautiful lakes
  • I want to see the Northern Lights

And dammit, I’m going to do my best to do those things.

Do you long to travel? Or have you not been bitten by the travel bug? 

*If you did not get the reference in the title, watch this. To this day, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. John Cleese might be my patronus.