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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Anglesey- A beautiful Welsh gem

 

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Last weekend I went to Anglesey, which is an island in the North of Wales. I went for three days, and it was lovely. I always had it in my head that Anglesey was a much smaller place than it actually is. I don’t think a lot of people realise that it’s kinda big. Rich’s family own a cottage in Treaddur Bay, right near the beach, and it’s so beautiful. The above picture is a sunset taken on the beach there. We drove down from Manchester on Thursday night after work. We were expecting it to take around two and a half hours, but it actually only took about one and a half, which was pretty good going.

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On our first day, we went up to Chemlyn bay which is on the north of the island. It’s absolutely breathtaking. There’s pebbled beaches, blue sea, and it feels like there’s nothing for miles around. We spent hours just wandering on the beach, taking pictures of the views, and just enjoying being somewhere so relaxing.

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On the second day, we went to Beaumaris, which on the east of the island, right near the Menai bridge. It was such a lovely little town. We spent a few hours going round the little independent shops. Rich bought me a gorgeous handbag for Christmas (I know it’s a while off but you can never start too early), and we also visited lots of galleries, a Chilli shop, and shops full of trinkets. After a few hours of shopping, we went to an amazing fish and chip shop and had a walk down the pier, and walked along the sea front which had views of the Snowdonia national park.

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On the last day we were there, we went to Newborough which is on the south of the island. If you’ve ever been to Formby Beach in Merseyside, it’s quite similar to that. There’s a massive pine forest which borders the beach, and there’s also an island called Llanddwyn Island which is stunning. It has a little lighthouse, a ruined church and lots of little coves. I wish it had been slightly sunnier on the day we went as it would have been perfect for a picnic. It’s quite a walk so you need to take your walking shoes, but it’s definitely worth it.

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It was a fabulous weekend, and I can’t wait to visit again. If you need somewhere relaxing to charge your batteries, then definitely check out Anglesey, as it’s full of hidden gems! How many of you have been to Anglesey before?

 

Wanderlusting: I want to visit…

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Ahh, I’m absolutely loving the heatwave that seems to be hitting the UK this week. I just want to stretch out on a sunlounger, sip on something icy and cold, and read a massive pile of books (they should probably be the ones that I need to read for my dissertation!). Unfortunately I have to work, and on my days off I have silly bits and pieces to do, like make doctors appointments and do bits of shopping. That aside, I will still be dreaming about days on sandy beaches, relaxing with not a care in the world, and that inspired today’s short but sweet post, all about the places and countries around the world that I’d love to visit, especially as today is my one year anniversary on WordPress! Previously, I’ve been to France, Belgium and Italy, and I’m heading to Croatia in September. I’d love to travel more, but I’m definitely not the kind of person who’d enjoy living out of my rucksack and sleeping in hostels. I’m definitely the type of person who likes to spend a long time in one place, relaxing and sightseeing as I go rather than frantically globetrotting. 

I want to visit…. Barcelona, Gibraltar, Bordeaux, Cannes, Amsterdam, Newquay, Isle of Sky, Malta, Sardinia, Krakow, Vienna, Slovenia, Slovakia, Pompei, Naples, Rome, Algarve, Malaga, Madagascar, the Maldives, Dubai, Gold Coast, New Zealand, Swiss Alps, Santorini, LA, New York, Washington DC, Cape Cod, Bora Bora, Mexico, Las Vegas, Great Barrier Reef, Florence, Tokyo, Hawaii, Cape Town, Sydney, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Yellowstone, Budapest, Hong Kong, Cairo, Grand Canyon, British Virgin Islands, San Francisco, Prague, Salar de Uyini (Bolivia), Tianzi Mountains (China), Yosemite Valley, Turkey, Luxembourg, Rhodes, Canada, Chicago, Tanzania, Republic of Seychelles, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Madeira, Crete, Pisa, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Dublin, New Orleans, Boston, Miami, Florida, Easter Island, Havana, Victoria Falls, Igazu Falls, Perth, Norway, Finland, the Dead Sea (Israel), Fiji, Tibet, Buenos Aires, Machu Pichu, St Tropez, St Barts, Marrakech, Galapagos Islands, Reykjavik, Athens, Nuuk, Juneau, Moscow.

Where do you want to visit?

The struggles of learning to drive

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Today I wanted to write about something that’s really getting me down at the moment- learning to drive. I’m 19, and I still can’t do it. A lot of you may be thinking that’s still quite young, and that there’s no need to rush, but the thing is, I’ve been learning to drive since last September and still seem to be getting nowhere with it.

Before I started to learn, I was so excited about it. I’d managed to save up enough money after working long shifts at fast food restaurants and retail stores, and  I was determined that I was going to pass as soon as possible. I signed up with a driving instructor, paid for a block of ten lessons, and thought yay, this is it. I’m going to be driving soon.

The problem was, driving was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I struggled with everything. It took me about fifteen lessons before I even got on the main road, I struggled with gear changes, roundabouts, EVERYTHING. I lended up having about thirty lessons, which brought me up until the end of April, before I decided it was time to make a change. I felt like my old driving instructor had been ripping me off. He spent hours making me drive around the same loop, not teaching me any manoeuvres and upping the price of my lessons. After discussing it with my family and my boyfriend, I found a new instructor.

Things are going slightly better. The problem is, it’s like learning to drive again from scratch. And I’m still struggling. All I want is to have a car so I can hop in whenever I like and just nip somewhere instead of having to walk miles or having to use public transport.Living in Manchester, it’s really easy to use a tram, but it would be so lovely to be able to visit my family and friends who don’t live here whenever I like.

For now, I’m going to keep persevering. It has crossed my mind to try taking a five day intensive course, or just to give up and start to learn automatic, but I feel like all this effort and money would have been a waste otherwise. I guess one day I’ll eventually pass and look back and be grateful that I did carry on, but for now it’s hard to not get upset that I don’t seem to be making much progress.

Is anyone else going through anything similar/ has been through something similar?

Summer

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Quintessential beauty amid the azure skies, streaked with the bubbles of joy that frequent this time of year. Her lemonade laugh fizzes as it overflows, trickling wildly, naturally. A mellow whisper is soaked up by the others as the honeybee buzzes through the haze. She breezes through the meadow, her giggles mingling with the air that’s heavy with the sighs of the dragonflies that meander gently through the green sea that seems to foam at her feet.

Storm

A strike of lightning dances across the floodlit sky, taunting the thunder, tempting it to retaliate. It smiles, smirking as it closes in, gathering followers that are responsible for the chasm of boulders that aim to conquer as they tumble rapidly out of the sky. They each mirror the other in a locked combat that causes the inferior below to meekly submit to the gods. Rain maliciously spits in the chaos of the torment, taking it’s place in the elemental battle. The spirals start to spur upwards in a torrent of fear as the war above the earth rages on. Eventually the clashes become weaker, the storm surrenders, and the skies become still, transient, as if blood had never been shed in the clouds. Rays of gold start to blossom, spreading, hugging the survivors, offering repent.

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The ‘glad to be alive’ feeling

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Is it just me who gets a certain sort of feeling when they’re somewhere really special? I’m talking about that feeling you get when you’re watching a glorious sunset in shades of orange, red and pink, the feeling you get when you’re driving in a car near the beach with the windows down, your favourite song on and beautiful sunny weather, the feeling you get when you step off the plane in a foreign country and it’s vibrant, and new, and amazing. The best way to describe it is probably to call it the ‘glad to be alive’ feeling. It’s euphoric.

I think a lot of us spend the majority of our time on this earth worrying about our daily lives, worrying about exams, about work, about our appearance, about our relationships. We don’t focus enough on the happy moments. We take what we have for granted. The problem is we’re not really living when we do this. We’re simply existing. I’m not going to be unrealistic and suggest that we wake up every single morning with a massive grin on our face, but I do think that we should embrace those mornings where we do wake up feeling happy and joyous.

Like most people, I’m guilty of waking up in the morning and having a good grumble about what lies ahead. I focus on the negative in situations instead of the positive, but all the while I should be concentrating on what will next give me that ‘glad to be alive’ feeling. I think it’s important to remember that there are people out there who have a much harder life than we do. They don’t have the same opportunities and the same resources that we have. Their search for their ‘glad to be alive feeling’ is so much harder than it is for us.

Last night I was lucky enough to go and see one of my favourite bands in the world live. As the crowd sang in unison, and the stadium was lit up with fireworks, lights and technicolour, I felt that ‘glad to be alive’feeling. This morning I woke up feeling happy and I still have the remnants of that feeling.

Tomorrow when I wake up and grumble about how early it is, or complain that it’s raining outside, I’m not going to forget that feeling. I’m going to do everything in my power to create it again as soon as possible. At the end of the day we all only have one life so we should do everything that we can to capture every moment that will bring us that feeling of being in harmony with the world. We’re blessed to have everything we have and life isn’t something to be taken for granted.

What do you think?