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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The City

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It inhales the early morning air, fresh, tangent with diesel, with petrol, with a sort of smog that fills your lungs. It’s a concrete jungle inhaling the smell of panic and thriving on the worry that seems to infect the rush hour crowd like a plague. It towers,  it’s waiting to conquer the urban wastelands on the outskirts that have not yet admitted that there’s no escaping the giant beating heart that is engulfing the core. At times it is deceitful, it offers an adrenaline rush to the susceptible, a feeling that at first is warm and inviting, that makes it seem like it is humming, buzzing with excitement. It poses as a metropolis of life, and you can become tricked by this mirage. It’s only as the clock ticks on, when darkness cloaks the skyline, that the cracks of society can be seen. There’s a sense of desolation in the midst of the morning before the city awakes and the cycle repeats itself.

Cocktails at Albert Docks, Liverpool

On Wednesday, I went on a day trip to Liverpool to catch up with my girls after not seeing them for over a month. We all live in different cities at the moment which makes meeting up really difficult, but when we do meet up we always have a great time and it’s like we’ve never been apart! As one of my friends lives in Liverpool, we decided it would be a good idea to go there. From Manchester it takes around an hour to get there, so I got on a train and off I went.

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From the above picture, it honestly looks like the weather was terrible, but it was actually pretty warm, perfect for wandering about the docks.

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Whenever we meet up, we seem to have a thing about going to Revolution. We tend to go for a catch up over cocktails and food, and this time we decided to get a sharing cocktail which came in this lovely kettle… I was really tempted to keep it as it’d look great in my kitchen! But alas, it had to be returned. This one was a sort of fruity mixture with vodka, apple spritzer, and fresh strawberries, I can’t remember exactly what it was called but it was delicious.

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In terms of food, I had a burger (I always seem to have a burger when I’m out, I think I need to start being more adventurous!) and a chocolate brownie for dessert, along with a cocktail off their summer menu called ‘Life’s a Peach’.

Overall, it was a really great day, and I can’t wait for our next catch up sometime soon. The picture below isn’t the best of us all, but seeing as it was the only one we managed to get altogether, I thought I’d include it anyway!

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I’m feeling at peace

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For the first time in months, I finally feel at peace. I think that’s because the last six months or so have been a blur of coursework, exams, train journeys, job interviews and a tonne of stress. However this week, I’m finally feeling a bit more settled with my life and where things are going. It seems to help that I’m filling my life with as much positivity as possible whether that’s in terms of work, in terms of family, and in terms of my social life.  Me and Rich also renewed the tenancy on our flat for another year last month, so it’s nice to know that that’s all sorted out too.

I’ve settled into my new job and am finding myself enjoying the routine of it all. I’ve been training in the stock room and on the sales floor which has meant having to learn lots of new things, and also has had me pushing myself out of my comfort zone as I’ve been meeting lots of new people and getting used to a new environment. I was pretty worried about how often I would be working etc, but I’ve been lucky in that my contract means  I don’t have to work weekends, something which is really important to me, as Rich works full time in the week, and the weekend tends to be the time where we spend some time together whether that’s visiting a new place, visiting family, or just relaxing at home.

I’ve also had great news as I’ve passed my second year of uni! I don’t know what my overall grade for the year is yet, but I know I’ve managed to achieve a 1:1 in my Publishing module, and 2:1’s in my Poetry and Work Based Learning modules which I’m really proud of. Uni has had me feeling quite unsettled this year, as at the end of my first year I didn’t do as well as I hoped and even considered giving it up. Now I’ve reached the end of this year, I’m so glad that I didn’t. Commuting to uni has really helped me to focus on what’s important in terms of my studies and I’m grateful for that as I want to give myself the best start in life possible.

A couple of weeks ago you guys might have read my post on driving lessons. That post was written at a time when I was feeling really down about my lessons and was even considering giving them up altogether. After a lot of consideration, I decided that I needed to make a change, and in my case, that change was switching driving instructors… for the third time. Okay, so I know it seems ridiculous, but I just wasn’t gelling with my second instructor. I was feeling stressed and angry after every lesson as I felt that I wasn’t really making any progress, and it struck me as strange that as a learner with over forty hours of driving experience under my belt, I was still driving around quiet side streets. Therefore, I switched for the third (and hopefully final) time. This time I think I’ve struck lucky, as after only three hours of tuition with my new instructor, he’s advised me to book my driving test, which I have! It turns out I’m not a terrible driver after all. We’ve been working on roundabouts, driving on country roads, hill starts and manoeuvres, so hopefully by the end of this year I’ll finally have my own car…. hopefully.

So there you go. That’s why I’m finally starting to feel a bit more at peace with everything. How are you finding your peace?

Coldplay ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ Tour

There’s huge controversy over the band Coldplay, and I just don’t understand why. They managed to fill the Etihad stadium in Manchester twice over this weekend and it has a capacity of 60,000 people.

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On Sunday night I was lucky enough to go and see them on their second night of the Head Full of Dreams tour and it was magical. I’ve seen a lot of bands live over the last few years but these were without a doubt the best. They started off the show with the first song off their album, A Head Full of Dreams, and it was perfect to get the crowd going. The song ended with this multicoloured confetti which looked amazing.

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Throughout the entire show there were fireworks, confetti, smoke and lighting effects. As we’d gone into the stadium, we’d all be given a wristband which automatically lit up throughout the show in a variation of colours. We were also each given a little ‘LOVE’ badge which I thought was so lovely as a little memento to take home. The picture below was taken during ‘Fix You’, and it looked beautiful.

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Chris Martin is such an energetic performer, and it was so great to see a singer play such an array of instruments as well as entertaining the crowd and, of course, singing.

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One of my favourite parts of the show was during ‘Adventures of a Lifetime’ as giant beach balls were thrown into the crowd, the lights flashed in technicolour, and everyone sang along.

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What I loved the most about this concert was the fact that it was so clear that every song had been tailored to be sang live. For example, ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ got everyone dancing on their feet, whilst slow songs such as ‘Everglow’ and ‘The Scientist’ made the audience emotional as we swayed along.  Everyone seemed to know the words to every single song and you could see the amazement on the band’s faces that they’d managed to reach out to so many people. I think this is the only concert I’ve been to where there’s been people of all different ages. There were children, teenagers, young couples, families, adults, and I think that just shows how Coldplay has such a diverse audience. I know there are rumours that this is there last tour but fingers crossed this isn’t true as I’d go to see them again in a heartbeat.

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My Flat Tour

I don’t know whether it’s just ordinary human nature, but I love looking inside other people’s homes, which I always think makes me really nosy to be honest! I like looking for inspiration for things I can do to make my own flat more homely. Therefore, I thought I’d share a tour of my flat with you guys. We’ve lived here almost a year now, and it definitely feels like home and I’m happy here. There’s nothing better than coming home in the evening to an environment that’s cosy and a bit of a safe haven after a stressful day.

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This is our living room. I do apologise, because it’s not completely spotless in this picture but I love how cosy it is on a night, and we’re lucky that it’s quite a big living room meaning lots of space to spread out in!

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This fab light shade is in our hall. It was already here when we moved in, and I’m so glad that the landlord has chosen this! I’d ideally want one like it in our bedroom, but I’m not quite sure where it’s from.

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This hangs in our hallway before you go into the living room, and it was an absolute steal at just £1.99 from B and M. I think it looks so cute, and although it’s a tad girly (sorry Rich!) it stops the hallway from looking too plain and boring.

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I’m definitely the sort of person who loves their sleep, and I think this yellow and grey duvet set from Next is so calm and soothing making the bedroom feel really relaxed.

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I try and keep my dressing table quite tidy, but I used to find that I was losing bits of jewellery because I was just leaving it scattered everywhere! I decided to buy a jewellery holder, and I got this lovely one from Dunelm for less than a fiver.

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This globe sits on the coffee table in our living room. I always wanted a globe as it reminds me of all the places in the world I’d love to see, so I was so glad when my mum got me this one as a bit of a present after seeing it in the Range.

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We wanted a clock which is a bit quirky and different and this one definitely fits the bill! We got it from a little independent shop in Manchester, and I’m so glad we got it as it’s always a talking point when people come round!

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These adorable little creatures sit on the windowsill in the kitchen. The one on the right is mine, and he’s actually a paperweight. I got him from ASDA before I started uni and think he’s so cute. The one on the left is one of the monkeys that comes with tea… I think it’s PG Tips?

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post and let me know what you think in the comments below! I’ve been trying to think of new post ideas too, so it would be really helpful if any of you had advice on the sorts of posts you like to read the most. I also just want to thank those of you who’ve commented on my previous posts too, as it means so much to know that you’ve enjoyed what I’ve written.

Bank Holiday Weekend

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This bank holiday weekend was everything that it should have been. For once, the weather stayed lovely and warm the entire time, I got to spend it with my favourite people in the world, and a lot of tasty food and drink was consumed. All in all, very successful.

On Saturday I spent the morning doing the usual household chores/shopping, and then in the afternoon made a new discovery in my local area. For ages, we hadn’t realised that there was any where near to us that was ideal for a bit of a walk that we didn’t have to drive too far to, until I did a bit of a trip adviser search of where I live, and found Sale Water Park.

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I was surprised by where it was, as it’s just off the motorway, yet from looking at the above picture, you wouldn’t think so!

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It’s close to the River Mersey too, and it was lovely to stroll along in the warm weather.

On Saturday evening I went to the cinema with Rich to see the new Xmen movie. I wasn’t looking forward to it as romantic comedies are more up my street, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I really liked it in the end! Maybe I’ll have to go watch the rest of them…

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On Sunday, we decided to go for a drive to Buxton. We’d heard it was a lovely place to visit, and we fancied a drive to somewhere new. Buxton’s in the middle of the Peak district, and on a sunny day you get some gorgeous views as you drive through the hills.

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When we got to Buxton, we went for a wander up the high street, and I topped up my book collection with two new Sophie Kinsella purchases. She’s my favourite author, and I find her books are perfect for reading on a summer’s day. After finding it a bit too warm to be walking around shops all afternoon, we went to get a coffee (iced of course!) and went to sunbathe in the Pavillion gardens.

On Monday, we went over to my mum’s house for a afternoon of burgers whilst sitting in the garden, which was the perfect way to round off the weekend.

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How was your weekend? Did you make the most of three days in the sunshine? 🙂