A city love affair

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As many of you Β know, I used to live in Chester. Chester is a beautiful city in the North West, and it’s the first place I lived entirely on my own without my family or any of the people that I grew up with all of my life. I lived in a tiny room in a old fashioned block of flats, and my friends lived directly across the road. Things like not being able to drive weren’t an issue as shops were a ten minute walk away, and as I lived on campus, it was literally a two minute walk to lectures. For that year, my friends became like a family to me. I think that because of that, Chester always feels like home to me in a way that I’m not always convinced Manchester does.

Although I class myself as living in Manchester, where I actually live is Sale, a small town in the suburbs which is technically in Cheshire. Where I live is very leafy and green, and it does feel more like home to me now than it did a year ago. It helps that Rich is here and that my family aren’t too far away, and I do feel as if I’m putting down more roots now that I have a part time job in the city. But then the other day, I caught the train down to Chester for a night out with some of my friends who live there. And I got that feeling as I were going home, as if I still lived there.

Although I’ve accepted that Manchester is my current home, and I’m happy with living there, I guess a part of me will always love Chester. It has beautiful sunsets, it’s where I met my boyfriend, and it’s somewhere that for a short while really made me happy. What I’ve got to remember is that life goes on, and that Manchester is somewhere that opens up a wealth of opportunities in a way that Chester didn’t. I have a lovely flat with Rich, I get to live the cosmopolitan city lifestyle, and I’m closer to my family and hometown.

I think I need to remember that whenever I do travel down to Chester for uni, which I currently do three times a week, although Chester is no longer my home, it’s still there for me when I want it. It was a stepping stone into my current life, and in the same way that my memories are always within reach, so is my favourite city.

Do any of you feel like this about a city? Let me know.

Beth xx

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How to relax

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I’m the sort of person who constantly gets stressed about little things, and that’s why I’ve decided to share some tips on how to destress when the going gets tough. I’ve found that doing some of these things really helps, and gets you back into that calm sense of mind that you need.

Shut off your technology-Β As someone who’s constantly on their phone I know firsthand that this can be really hard, but you’ll be surprised at how good it feels. When we’re constantly on our phones, our brains are constantly buzzing, and we feel like we’re being demanded at. Turning off your phone really gives you a sense of zen, and I know that it really helps me after a stressful day.

Read a book- There’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a new novel in your hands. Reading allows you to escape the world around you, and helps you get lost in another person’s thoughts. It’s so relaxing, and I try and read for at least half an hour a night before I go to sleep.

Drink a cup of tea- There’s a reason that us Brits are constantly drinking it, as it’s a great solution to everything. It’s a lot more calming than coffee, though I have to say that I do tend to drink coffee if I’m feeling stressed early on in the day. I’ve recently got into drinking green tea, and fruit tea. My favourites are salted caramel green tea, and raspberry and mango fruit tea, and I find that they really relax me.

Go for a walk- I live just around the corner from the canal, and find that an evening stroll in the sunshine is a great way to destress. I normally go with my boyfriend and it really gives us a chance to talk about any stresses of the day.

Run a hot bath- I normally take a bath around mid week or towards the end of the week when I’m burned out and tired. I tend to add loads of bubble bath, and take a good book in there with me. It feels so nice to be soothed by the water, but just be careful that you don’t fall asleep in there! Treat yourself by taking some lovely smelling bath gel in there with you.

Cook yourself something tasty– A year ago I could barely cook anything, but nowadays I cook most meals in our flat. I find it to be really therapeutic and the bonus is that you get a lovely (hopefully!) tasting meal at the end of it. Try following something you’ve never tried before out of a recipe book, or, if you’re feeling confident, try making up your own recipe.

Plan your next holiday- If it’s your day to day life that’s getting you down, try planning your next holiday to somewhere new and exciting. After feeling really stressed with university exams and deadlines recently, I booked a holiday to Croatia where I can hopefully catch some rays, relax and take in the sights.

Do you have any tips for relaxing?

 

Thought of the day

“Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people”
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Like most people, I find myself constantly wanting to be like other people. In our culture it’s so easy to do this whether we’re comparing ourselves to our peers, or families or celebrities that we’ve never even met. I don’t spend enough time being proud of myself, because I worry that I’m being selfish, or that I will appear vain. But at the same time, I expect other people to admire me, and then I lend up in a sort of vicious circle.

I find myself comparing myself to other people in silly ways sometimes. I look at fellow bloggers (my absolute new favourite is Audrey Leighton whose Frassy blog is absolutely gorgeous as well as stylish and inspirational) and wish that my life was more like theirs. I want to be travelling around the world, soaking up the sunshine and experiencing new cultures. What I don’t remember is that this is not the only thing that these people do. They’ve worked hard to get where they are, and if I put my mind to it, I could one day achieve something like that. Instead of focusing on comparing myself to others, Β I should be working hard too, to achieve my own personal goals.

Sometimes I wish I was more like my friends, whether it’s the fact that they’ve done better than me in exams, or they’ve got a job, or they’ve passed their driving test. What I need to remember is that, at least I’ve passed my exams. I’ve had jobs before and I’ll have jobs again. And one day, despite the fact that it’s taking me forever to drive, I will pass my driving test.

The worst type of comparisons I make are to celebrities such as Nina Dobrev, or Taylor Swift. I wish that I was as skinny as they are, I wish that I was as tanned, that I had loads of money. What I don’t remember is that okay, I might not be super skinny, but at a size 12, I’m not fat either. Although I might not be tanned, I have nice pale skin that goes well with my green eyes and subtle freckles. Nina Dobrev and Taylor Swift are gorgeous but I’m never going to look like them, and that’s fine. People still think that I look okay, and I still have a boyfriend that loves me the way I am. It doesn’t matter that I’m not everything they are, because I’m unique in myself.

So from now on, let’s try and focus on ourselves and how great we are. We need more self confidence, and it’s not vain to be that way.

What’re your thoughts?

 

Thought of the day

“Stars can’t shine without darkness”

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Despite living in a big city for the past year, I’ve only recently noticed something. I’ve noticed that from the window of my flat, it’s practically impossible to see the stars. Due to the city smog and the constant artificial light, all I can see is a blackened sky with patches of slightly lighter sky, and if it’s a ‘clear’ night, I can see the moon. This saddens me quite a bit as in the past, in the town and then the city I lived in before I lived here, I could see the stars and all their constellations. I enjoyed looking up on a cloudless night and seeing them twinkling above me and it was a sort of comfort to know that they were always there, waiting and ready for those nights I needed to see something raw, real and beautiful.

After feeling sad about this for quite a long time on Saturday night, I started to realise something. Just because I couldn’t see the stars, it didn’t mean that they weren’t there. They were there, I just couldn’t see them at that precise moment. If I really focused my eyes on the night sky, I could see what looked like a remnant of a star attempting to break out of it’s prison as it glittered briefly at me. But it was over in a flash and once again I was left with a starless sky.

For many of us, just because someone is no longer visible in our lives, whether that’s because of physical barriers or because we’ve lost track of time and forgotten their importance, we forget that they existed or are still existing. In the same way that the stars can’t be clearly seen from my window, just because you can’t see a person anymore, it doesn’t mean that they’re not still there on the outskirts. They’re still raw, and real, and beautiful, and they’re a still a part of you.

That’s the logic I want to embrace. Instead of worrying that I can’t see the stars in the place that I am at the moment, I’m going to smile and remember that they’re still up there, getting ready to smile right back at me one day. The smog will disappear, and I’ll see them twinkling and proud, but for now, it’s enough to remember that they still exist in my memory.

Thought of the day

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At some point in most people’s lives, people worry. The majority of people worry every single day about something whether it’s something major or something tiny. As a student, it’s so easy to spend too much time fretting, whether that’s fretting about being able to afford your weekly food shop or worrying about affording drinks on a night out. Then there’s emotional worries about whether we’re gonnaΒ pass our next assignment, or whether we’re gonna get a date with that cute guy that we really fancy.

The problem is that we’re spending too much time worrying. At the end of the day, we have to remember that we’re not psychic and we can’t change the outcome of something once we’ve done something. Well at least the majority of the time, and hey, if you know you’ve done everything you can to change the outcome, then remember there’s nothing more you can do except sit back and relax.

I worry all the time. Sometimes I worry about irrational things, irrational things such as what would happen if a spider came into my flat when I was alone and there was no one to get rid of it apart from me, who’s completely utterly and terrified by spiders. But what’s the point in worrying about things like that? If it happened, I’d probably scream a lot and hide in a different room, but the point is I’d survive. It wouldn’t change my life at all.

Sometimes I worry about completely normal things like what I’m going to do when I graduate, but in this case, I know I’m working my socks off to get the best grades I can, and I’m trying to gain work experience, so what more can I do?

I think what I’m trying to say is that, a little bit of worry is normal. But don’t let it take over your life. Next time I’m worrying away about something stupid I’m going to run myself a hot bath with loads of bubbles, and try to get rid of some of that stress. It won’t completely remove my worries, but it’ll take my mind off things for a bit, after all I’m only human.

Thought of the day

“Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?”
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After a Christmas full of chocolate, turkey, cake and more, I decided that I was going to try and lose a few pounds to get in shape for the summer, something which I think a lot of girls do in the hopes of fitting into the perfect bikini.

I started by making sure whenever I did the weekly food shop that I would buy everything which Sainsburys and Waitrose told me was ‘good for me’ and was part of their healthy range. I ate just fruit for breakfast, and felt guilty whenever I ate a piece of cake. I filled my cupboards with exotic flavours of green tea, from gingerbread to salted caramel, and frantically signed up for the gym. Every time my boyfriend suggested having some chocolate on an evening, or going out for dessert, I’d say no and cook something healthy at home.

To be fair, this did help me lose weight, but the problem was, I never enjoyed meals as much anymore, and I craved sweet treats like peanut M and M’s, salt and pepper crisps, and cake, so much cake. And so I decided to hell with it, I wasn’t going to feel guilty anymore.

So now, I eat healthy most of the time instead of all of the time. If my friends want to go for a coffee, I’ll say yes and order my favourite calorie laden frappucino. But I’ll make sure that I cook a healthy tea as a consequence. I’ve found that the brown bread, the wholemeal seeded bread which I hated growing up, was much tastier and more filling than the white I always used to buy, and I’ve found that chicken on sandwiches is much tastier than full fat cheese. I’ve even found a healthy alternative to my favourite crisps, which are Kettle’s Maple BBQ Waves, which contain less fat and less calories, but are still just as yummy and satisfying.

In my opinion, it’s all about finding a balance.Sometimes it’s good to indulge, and it’s just what you need after a long day at school, or university, or work. But sometimes you feel motivated to eat healthy and do loads of exercise and that’s also okay. But there’s no point in feeling miserable anymore, or worrying about your weight, because chances are you’re great already just the way you are. Just make a few simple changes, and you’ll be surprised at how much more effective they are compared to completely depriving yourself of everything you love.

What do you think?