John O’Groats

I love trains.  I really really do.  So, whilst I’m in my final ‘summer’ so to speak (although still working full time, as and when) I felt it was only necessary to take the train to John O’Groats.  As you do.  Snaps and stories.

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We took the sleeper train from London Euston up to Inverness.  This was my beaut of a berth.  If you haven’t been on a sleeper train, I’d really recommend it.  It’s so much fun toddling down to the dining carriage bar for a drink and to mingle with the other passengers.  (Note my left over gin and lemonade glass.)  It can be a bit hit and miss as to how well you actually sleep, but I find the swaying and to and froing really rather comforting.  Then waking up and finding out you’re in the middle of Scotland and that the London lights are 300 miles behind you, pretty breathtaking.

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We wandered around Inverness for a bit before catching our next train, from Inverness to Wick.  This was a 4 hour pretty bumpy ride through the Highlands but was absolutely beautiful.  I saw puffins, deer, even majestic stags and of course, lots and lots of sheep.  It was gorgeous.

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From Wick, we took another very bumpy bus up to John O’Groats (the most northern part of the UK) itself.  It was crazy, literally nothing there.  I felt extremely overwhelmed about how far north we were (which is weird, cause I’ve been to Australia heaps of times LITERALLY the other side of the world) but is was beautiful and desolate at the same time.  Excuse the pretty casual get up here.  (I’d spent upwards of 12 hours on trains).  But FYI my tee is ASOS, jeans are trusty BDG at Urban Outfitters favourites, socks are Topshop and sneakers are Vans.

After a twenty minute stroll around John O’Groats we got the same very bumpy bus back to our hotel in central Wick (located on the shortest street in the world, don’t you know).  After relaxing over a bottle of cava we headed down to a gorgeous dinner and some drinks in the bar, before collapsing into bed.

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After an early start, we got the same (bumpy) train from Wick down to Inverness where we spent the day strolling the Ness and the Isles of Ness, shopping and gorging on Pizza Express.  At 8pm we boarded the sleeper train to head back to London Euston where we arrived 12 hours later.

So that was it!  It was a beautiful trip and exactly the break I needed.  The Highlands were just gorgeous and I can now say I’ve been to the most northerly point in the UK!  Next, Landsend.

 

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Bella Evening

For the last 3 to 4 years, I’ve been partaking in an event named ‘Bella Evening’.  Or my full and real name evening if you know me well.  Prerequisites require a free house (boyfriend being out and about), wine, cheese and a girlish drama of sorts.  I’ve loved, even craved these evenings for the past few years.  A chance to let down my Bridget Jones, sing youtube karaoke to my webcam in my pyjamas and collapse into the MIDDLE of the bed, without fear of retribution.  So why is it tonight, I’m questioning my company?

I think it’s because generally, these days, I’m alone more.  So the question is, how to be alone?  Whilst one could take inspiration from this incredible youtube video, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs) how does one enjoy being alone when it happens so frequently, yet so seldom?  Excuse the melodrama.

I’m alone most days.  These days in #masterslife, I generally work from home.  I look forward to boyfriend returning home at 7pm, dinner and drinks, or a night in front of The Hunger Games.  So when boyfriend heads out of an evening, alone time turns into … lonely.  Yet I do oh-so hesitate to use that word.  I have beautiful and amazing friends, whatsapp and texts could provide me with a cinema or bar buddy in half an hour, yet I choose to stay alone.  Why?  When did my own company, which I love and crave so much, become questionable?

I believe it’s important to be alone.  I’ve always been around people, always.  My family home was full of people coming and going.  One year, I remember 16 souls in a 3 bed semi for a month over Christmas.  At university, I lived in a house of 9.  I’ve always been around people.  And don’t get me wrong, I love people.  And because I love people, I believe in the importance of being alone.  Whilst sociability is an exquisite trait, so is aloneness.  I just need to remember that.

I used to cherish being alone.  And in 6 months, when I have a full time job and am struggling with running a household, seeing friends and family and looking after a boyfriend (ladies, y’all know what I mean), I’m going to cherish it even more.  These evenings are few and far between these days, and will become even more so in the future.  My own company isn’t questionable, its essential.  Not just now, but always, and I will love and enjoy me, myself and I for years and years to come.  So should you.

Thank you for letting me vent, excuse me whilst I go bathe, watch Orange is the New Black and belt out ‘Titanium’.  I believe it keeps me sane.

Social Media Madness

I love social media, I absolutely love it.  I love tweeting and texting and instagramming and facebooking – it’s safe to say I am a social media harlot.

In this day and age of smartphones and 3g, much of our social media participation is done on the go.  I’m talking checking in at the cinema, instagramming your dinner at a restaurant, or tweeting about your night out.  That’s fine, I do it too.  I encourage it, I embrace it.  What I DO have a pet peeve about is social media(ing) in the company of others.  Now I don’t mean walking along, or hanging out in a common room chilling and chatting.  I mean real company, spending quality time with someone.

It has become all too normal to turn up to a bar meeting friends for drinks and put your phone on the table.  It’s of course, fine it you’re waiting for an important call ot an email, but not if you’re waiting for a retweet or a ‘like’ notification.  What, is then wrong with the company you are keeping?  Are they less important to you that one of your 300 facebook friends commenting ‘fit’ on your new selfie?  They can’t be, otherwise you wouldn’t have arranged to meet them in person.

It makes me so mad when I’m having lunch with someone and they check their phone.  Instantly, there’s a digital barrier between us and all connection and conversation flow can vanish.  Again, it’s fine if they’re showing me a picture of something or a hilarious vine, but to connect with the virtual world when they should be connecting with the real world?  No.  Not on.

I recently raised this issue with Boyfriend.  I told him, that when I’m having drinks with friends at Uni, there are no phones on the table, that the conversation and banter is on fire and everyone is genuinely interested in each other – and how utterly refreshing it is.  Then I told him what I’m telling you, how cross I feel when social media company is put before my company (or maybe I’m just THAT boring?!).  He commented, that maybe phones and social media in company is our new norm in society, not something to feel angered or upset about.  This saddened me.  I love social media, I’ll be the first and loudest to admit it.  But not when I’m around others, not when I’m enjoying real life, my life, and living it to the full.

Ever since I can remember, phones or laptops have not been permitted at dinner or drinks in my family.  If you use your phone at our dinner table, you will be asked to leave.  I believe this is how it should be.  It is the height of rudeness to start a conversation with someone else whilst spending quality time with a person, so why is it okay to do it virtually?

I’m not campaigning we all put down out smartphones and digital detox.  I’m not going to go all crazy and throw a friends phone across a room if they dare brandish it in front of me.  I’m just trying to get us all to have a little think, about our social media habits, about our phone habits when in the company of others.  What do you think?  I’d be really interested to hear another take on this.  Feel free to like, retweet, comment, poke, repost, or any other social media action you can think of.  All I know is, I won’t be checking if you did, whilst in the company of others.

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Woops

BDG Bad Boys

Holla!  So it was about 5 years ago I first met the trusty jean brand BDG (on sale at Urban Outfitters) in the form of a ‘Slim Boyriend’ look.  Since then, they’ve been ripped to shreds, but still emerge from my wardrobe when I need a chilled, laid back look for the day.  In January, in my obligatory Oxford Street Urban Outfitters sale haul, I picked up these lovelies, which I teamed up with this outfit to head to my Dissertation hand in day at Uni:

ImageCardigan – John Lewis

T Shirt – Gap

Necklace – Amsterdam Market

Jeans – BDG

Boots – New York

Black, wet, leather sort of look? Uh, how boring!  But NO.  Check this out ..

ImageAha!  And then at the back they are blue denim!  ‘What an absolute mind****!’ my housemate shrilly shrieked as I paraded up and down the corridor.  You know when you just find the perfect pair of jeans?  The perfect length, fit and size, perfect for you?  I think these might just be them.  They’re definitely my ‘good jeans’ of the moment, wearing them out for dinner, on a pub evening, maybe to a night club. In love.

Do you have a favourite pair of jeans?

(N.B.  I apologise for the background!  This was taken in the alleyway next to my flat.  Just ignore the beaten up TV, STILL there from our Halloween house party!  Student living, eh?!) 

 

 

Up at the O2

Soo, this weekend I went to London!  And London took me ‘Up at the o2’!  Up at the o2 is basically .. walking across the o2 which I bought boyfriend for Christmas.  We tend to buy each other experiences for birthdays/christmases/anniversaries etc.  I feel so happy right now, in terms of life and I have everything I could possibly need or want, so experiences are a perfect present.  By this I mean beautiful food, gigs, climbing over historic landmarks .. you get the idea.  So here’s how it went ..!

 

So we arrived at the o2, ready to head the heck up it, have a gorgeous dinner and see the one and only ‘Skyfall’ (which is AMAZING by the way).  It looked terrifying from the bottom.  For me, someone who is mildly nervous of heights, I was pretty freaked out.  Next we signed into ‘Base Camp’ where a mental video greeted us with lots of interesting facts and what we could expect.  We headed into a changing room to get dressed, in our totally fetching boiler suits!  I also grabbed the walking boots they had on offer, which I would definitely recommend .. so much better grip!

Next was heading up.  I was totally freaked out by the Carabina thing, and couldn’t even really work it .. sometimes boyfriend had to do it but I managed, and before I knew it .. we were up!  The actual walk way is suspended above the tent canvas and is kind of like a massive bouncy mat .. with no sides!  I thought that bit would be scary but I loved it.  Walking across it, knowing you were safe, but not completely feeling safe (sort of like a roller coaster) was really exhilarating.

At the top, gosh it was just beautiful.  I purposely timed our walk when the sun was setting (I googled it and everything, romantic huh?!)  We had a gorgeous view of Canary Wharf (which I had funnily visited the day before on a Geography field trip, so it was really interesting) and of the Emirates air line, but I must admit I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed with the lack of the view of the City.  Being a geography student, I probably should have realised that the way the Thames bends, we wouldn’t have but ah well, it was still beaut.  Complete with a cheeky plank too, of course ;)

The way down was doubly scary as the way up, the gradients just kept going up and up and up, so the way down was getting steeper and steeper and steeper, I couldn’t handle it!  I will admit I took a minute or two to have a tiny cry and compose myself, the guide was brilliant though, professional but such a lad too.  And after a wonderful hour, I touched the ground again!  It really was incredible, and only £22 on a week day.  I really would recommend doing it, so so special.

So do it guys, get out there, fall in love with life (haven’t said that in a while!) and get up the o2!