A city love affair

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As many of you  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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9 things making me happy right now

7969e4032d478ff28fbfe7f1101e4fc3This post’s pretty self explanatory, but seeing as I’m pretty happy with my life at the moment, I thought I’d share the reasons why with you. 

My family– Last year when I lived in Chester, I didn’t get to see my family as much as I liked. This was due to the fact that the only living space I had was a tiny little bedroom which wasn’t great for my family to be able to pop round for a brew! Now I live in Manchester, it’s only a half an hour drive from Wigan, and I have a lot more living space for people to get cosy in.

My friends- I’m really lucky to have two great groups of friends. I have my uni friends who I met last year and whom I’m still really close with, and I have my friends from home who I still see regularly. I know that I could pick up the phone anytime I had a problem and they’d be there for me, so if any of them are reading this, thanks for being fab!

My boyfriend– As well as great friends, I also have a lovely boyfriend, Rich, who puts up with me on a daily basis which is pretty brave to be honest with you, as I can be an absolute nightmare to live with! Instead of getting annoyed with my angry outbursts, he tends to laugh and be constantly laidback which works well against my fiery personality. So if he’s reading this (which he probably will) then thank you!

Warm weather– Here in Manchester, it’s being surprisingly warm recently. Normally it’s always grey and raining, but for the last few weekends we’ve been blessed with sunshine. This has meant lots of fun days out and a tonne of sunbathing on the gardens outside my flat. It’s also been lovely to take a wander down the canal in the evening.

Reading- I’ve got so much reading done recently, it’s been great! When I lived at uni last year, I pretty much stopped reading for the first time in my life. But since moving to Manchester, I’ve started reading at least two books a week. I’m particularly loving crime thrillers at the moment, I’ve recently finished all of Simon Kernick’s novels. Check them out if you’re into that sort of thing!

Cooking- If you’ve read any of my previous posts, then you’ll know that I never used to be able to cook, but recently I’ve started getting quite into it. I’ve been researching lots of new recipes and trying new ingredients out which has been loads of fun. I’m now the main chef in our house too, which kinda makes me feel like I’m stepping into adulthood!

Eating healthier- Since Christmas, I’ve managed to lose around eight pounds which I’m really happy with. I’ve done this by doing lots of walking and by making a few healthier food choices. I’m determined to keep going and get my bikini body ready for my holidays!

Sorting out the flat- Also since Christmas, me and Rich have been trying to make our flat feel more like home. We’ve bought lots of new bits and pieces and done a lot of sorting out through our wardrobes and cupboards to try and make a bit more space. I’m really pleased with the result!

Coffee- This may seem like a silly thing, but coffee is the one thing that I’m always drinking. I know it’s not too good for me, but I tend to drink two cups before I even leave the house in the morning. We’ve just bought a new coffee machine which makes excellent coffee and means I don’t have to spend as much in Caffee Nero as I have all the coffee that I want at home.

What’s making you happy recently?

 

 

Destination: Manchester

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Growing up only about forty minutes outside of Manchester, I feel that I know it pretty well. Now I live on the outskirts, I feel like I’m getting to know it even better. After having a love-hate relationship with the city for quite some time, I’m finally starting to just love it, and it’s starting to feel more like home.

What I love the most about Manchester is how close everything is. I can leave my flat, hop on a tram, and within twenty minutes be weaving my way through the crowds of people in the middle of Piccadilly gardens. I can walk around the corner and find a lovely little coffee shop, and I can walk down the road at sunset and find the canal, perfect for an evening stroll. I love Serendipitea in Sale which does an amazing cooked breakfast, and also Blue Daisy Cafe in the Northern Quarter of the city centre.

Manchester prides itself on being the capital of the north, a city of culture and of rich industrial history, and this is evident around every corner as you see the old and the new mixed together. Perhaps my favourite building is City library, which looks like something from another time, and looks quirky and unique in contrast to the nearby Manchester Central and passing trams. You can spend an afternoon here soaking up the history, or having some quiet time with a good book. The MOSI museum is good, and always extremely busy, but I prefer Manchester Art Gallery, which contains an abundance of beautiful paintings which tell a history; it’s perfect for any couples out there wanting more of a cultured afternoon.

In Manchester, you’re also never too far away from the countryside with the Peak district and the Cheshire plain almost on your doorstep. I love Lyme Park with it’s romantic setting and it being the backdrop of my favourite version of Pride and Prejudice. Dunham Massey, near Altrincham, is also lovely for taking a stroll in when the sun’s shining on a cold and crisp day. If you like long walks with dramatic backdrops then Dovestone Reservoir is ideal, and you can walk all around the outside in around two hours. I’d recommend taking a bit of a picnic if it’s a nice day.

In terms of shopping, I’ve found you’re spoiled for choice, as is evident from my now overflowing wardrobes. The Trafford Centre’s worth a trip to, particularly if it’s a rainy day, and if you’re wanting an array of choice for food after all that shopping; I’d recommend Coast to Coast, which I visited a few weeks ago for the first time. I also like shopping in the centre of Manchester, not just in the Arndale, but also in the surrounding streets. Of course the giant Primark is a must, but be warned that you will be in there for a long time- enter at your own risk! But if you like vintage shops, and second hand book shops and charity shops galore, explore the backstreets of Manchester. Check out Ancoats and the Northern Quarter. Altrincham, which is close to where I live, is great if you’re a fan of charity shop shopping like myself, and I’ve found a tonne of good finds by spending a Saturday morning on the lookout. There’s also a fab tearoom in the old post rooms which is a must for afternoon tea.

As for nightlife, again you’re spoiled for choice. Being the type of person who prefers meals and cocktails, I’m a big fan of Deansgate Locks. It’s also right next to the tram station which means I can get home quickly, ideal after a few too many. Lola Lo’s, with it’s coconut theme aroma, and Revolution, cheap with your student card, are the best bet. If you want a night of dancing then Revolucion de Cuba is pretty good.

Where are your favourite places in Manchester?