A trip to Edinburgh

Last week I spent a wonderful two days in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland. I started with a picnic on Calton Hill, where there are loads of fascinating monuments and a fantastic view of the city:

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We walked along the Royal Mile and saw St Giles cathedral, which was really beautiful inside and out, and walked up to the castle:

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We walked down to see Scott monument, which is really cool:

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There are so many beautiful vies in Edinburgh, from the view from Calton Hill to Castle Hill:

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But my favourite view my far was the view from Arthur’s seat, which I was so in awe of that I didn’t even take a picture. The view from the other side was also beautiful though:

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and the hill itself:

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We walked back past a lot of lakes:

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and had a lovely wander around the Old Town and the New Town. We did a bit of shopping, had ice cream, and had a lovely dinner at the Elephant House, where JK Rowling wrote a lot of Harry Potter. Walking back from the station in Durham, we were also blessed with this beautiful view, which finished off the weekend perfectly:

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A day trip to York (UK)

Last week I had the most amazing day in York with my better half. We’ve both been so busy all term and had so much on that we haven’t seen each other nearly as much as we wanted to, and when we have been together we’ve been so tired we’ve slumped into a routine of binge watching and not much else.

We decided to spend a day in York, which is a beautiful city not far from our university, to spend some quality time together and explore some more of the world.

We walked along the wall,

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reading the information boards as we went, which were fascinating. We walked along the river,

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caught a glimpse of the Minster,

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and then up close,

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And had a tour inside, which was really interesting. We saw the Clifford’s Tower, the keep of a Norman motte and bailey castle which was originally built under William I,

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did some shopping, had some lovely food, and even made some new friends.

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It’s important to make time for the people you love, and even if a long, exotic or expensive trip isn’t on the cards, a day trip can do the world of good. Even just leaving the bubble I spend the majority of your life wrapped up in for a few hours made me feel more relaxed, happy, and glad that I live in such a beautiful world.

A weekend in Marsden (near Huddersfield, UK)

This weekend I met my boyfriends dad and stepmum for the first time. It was nerve-wracking and scary, but my breath was taken away by the place we met. I joined them on their family holiday in Marsden, near Huddersfield in England.

We stayed in a little house by the canal and a small reservoir. The sun shined (once in a while) and made the water sparkle. There were lots of locks, which are used to change the water level of the canal so that barges can travel even when the water level would change.

We explored around the area, including the information centre about the Standedge tunnel, which is the longest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain. It is three miles long, and too thin for the horses which used to normally pull the barges, so they had to be pulled along by two men who lay on the sides of the boat and stepped sideways. It took about four hours to get through the tunnel this way! We also strolled up to Close Gate bridge, which was beautiful.

For the rest of the weekend we read our books and chatted, had some lovely meals and cake at ‘Crumbals on the Corner’, which were all delicious, and mooched around the village. We had some strange encounters – a man who asked us to catch his dog for him while he watched from his car, and a very chatty (and a teensy bit drunk) man at the train station.

My boyfriend then came to visit my family for a couple of days. I won’t bore you, but we read, watched a lot of The Flash (finished season 1) and some Desperate Housewives (also finished season 1), baked some cupcakes, played card games, went for a couple of short walks and even managed to squeeze some work in!

My Easter Weekend

Amongst the endless drone of work and revision it’s important to have a rest. I had a lovely weekend, (almost) completely work-free, with my family and in the sunshine (surprisingly, we had a lot of sunshine!).

We went to visit my grandparents in Worcester. Not many people know where Worcester is, but it’s a city in the west midlands in England, and is actually very pretty. No surprise, it houses the original Worcestershire sauce!

My grandpa is quite ill and had recently moved into a residential home, so it was good to be able to be there for my grandma. We had a lot of time inside, playing card games, reading and chatting and it was lovely to be able to unwind. I went for a jog (!), did an Easter egg hunt and had some lovely meals out, but the highlight for me was going to Spetchley Park Gardens on the day that it opened.

We spent the afternoon strolling through beautiful Victorian gardens, complete with a glistening lake, quaint bridge, deer park and Georgian mansion, and even a little church. It really was stunning, and there was even an easter egg hunt for the (not so little any more) kids (including me, obviously!).

A weekend in Paris

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to Paris for four days with the concert band I play in. We had a fantastic time – the company, scenery, history, music and the weather! I wanted to share some pictures:

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of the amazing views

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and iconic landmarks

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and delicious food

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and the beautiful places we did our concerts.

Packing light

I’ve done a lot of travelling lately. Nothing exotic – just going to and from uni, visiting my boyfriend’s family, taking him to visit mine, going back to uni, coming back. I’m going to Wales next week and then on to my grandparents, and then to Paris.

One thing I’m not good at is packing light.

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I’ll cram an enormous suitcase to the brim, until it’s too heavy for me to carry and every train I try to get on I have to ask for help. Or pack really economically and then realise I have a bulk of stuff that needs to go with me simply because I’ll need it in a few visits time. Most recently I decided to cut down and only take a rucksack with me, full of things to drop off at the new house. Theoretically it should have been almost empty on the way back, and yet somehow I had to overflow into a plastic bag for my return journey!

I know there are rules I need to follow – only take clothes that can be rearranged into different outfits, make use of what you know will be there, don’t take unnecessary shoes and bags. But I think my biggest problem is entertainment.

What if I finish three books in two days and need another? What if I’m inspired and want to do some work? Or paint? Or read a magazine?

I struggle, because I really am that indecisive, and I know that in the space of a week, even if I take all the things I’ve said, I’ll find something else I wish I had.

In the end it might just be best to open myself up to ridicule (and very stressful journeys….) so I can do what I want when I’m there…right?

Visiting Liverpool

I didn’t like Liverpool to start with. It was ugly and busy and filled with scaffolding. But as I walked towards the water and along to the Three Graces it became much more beautiful.

We started at the cathedral and walked past the water sports centre

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Then along the water

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Along all of the chains by the side of the water padlocks were attached, with the names of couples or people who someone loves. There were hundreds and they made me really happy.

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There were strange statues (this one’s ship foghorns)

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And finally three beautiful buildings called the Three Glories – the Royal Liver Building on the left, then the Cunard Building and finally the Port of Liverpool Building

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Then we went to the Tate, which fascinates but massively confuses me, and watched my sister do a lovely concert.