My Europe Bucket List

Hello lovely people!

Can I get political for a second? Fuck Brexit. I hate it and everything it stands for, whether that be nationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment or economic liberalism. I hate that it stands in the way of defining myself first and foremost as a European citizen, and I hate that it’s almost certainly going to restrict my future. I absolutely adore Europe with all my heart, and I want to continue roaming around it’s streets forever.

My trip to Milan this week has inspired me to keep travelling, regardless of what my government want to do to stand in my way. Travelling alone has helped me find my feet and discover some amazing things and places; if I’m honest I just want to drop everything right now and disappear across Europe on my own for a while. I’ve spoken to people doing round-the-world trips, interrails, or travelling for work, and I want to do it all. So, this is where I want to go.

europe bucket list

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Milan was very nearly Copenhagen. The flights were just as cheap and even more convenient, but accommodation and mere existing was a little out of my budget for this trip. Scandinavia isn’t an area I’ve ventured into as yet due to the aforementioned high prices, but for some reason I’m drawn to Denmark. Perhaps it’s the canals, perhaps it’s the Scandi lifestyle; whatever it is I’m determined to make it there.

copenhagen

2. Rome, Italy
Having visited Milan, Como, Verona and Venice I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Italian culture. The people are always welcoming, aperativo is the best idea anyone ever came up with, and their relaxed approach to life is something I hugely envy. I’ve chosen Rome because I’ve been recommended it a thousand times over, and it’s historical sights look amazing. Perhaps this is a linguistic trip for if I ever learn Italian…

rome

3. Andalusia, Spain
Considering Spanish is my third language I’m honestly ashamed that the only time I’ve ever visited Spain was to a holiday resort when I was about 12. It’s just never quite made it; too far off-route for my 2017 interrailing trip and too expensive for this month. My current vibe is for the region of Andalusia. After studying Frederico Garcia-Lorca in first year and getting deep into Andalusian history and culture it’s been somewhere I’ve been dying to visit.

cadiz andalusia

4. Bordeaux, France
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that my heart is firmly in France. I aim to settle there and after 3 years of exchanges over in Brittany I have a huge group of friends in that area. However, I’ve never been further south than La Rochelle, which is a huge regret of mine. Add my love of wine into the mix and Bordeaux just seems logical to me. It’s near the coast and next to a national park too so I’d love to do a more relaxed holiday there someday.

bordeaux

5. Moscow, Russia
This is the only place on this list that I’m not wholeheartedly down for. Russia (quite understandably I think) absolutely terrifies me. As an overt member of the LGBTQ+ community I’m not sure if I want to visit a country that still persecutes people like me everyday. However, I’m also big into my cold war/communist history, and Moscow really is the centre of that. Maybe someday.

Moscow

7. Cologne, Germany
I loved visiting both Munich and Berlin, but I’ve never been further west in Germany. I’d really love to see how that compares to the Bavarian culture of Munich and the heavily modernised Berlin, as well as explore the Rhine valley whilst there.

cologne

8. Barcelona, Spain
I keep saying that I don’t need to go to Barcelona, because as a linguist it’s pretty useless to me, being that its inhabitants speak Catalan. However, I don’t speak the languages of most of the countries on this list, and that doesn’t make them any less viable as destinations. I really want to see the sights of Barcelona, and after hearing stories from countless friends and family members I’d love to see how great it is for myself.

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9. Kosovo
Kosovo is politically quite turbulent, which I think is a great shame. It has a pretty negative image as a result of its civil war in the late 90s and self-declaration of independence from Serbia (which, as an aside, Serbia still doesn’t recognise, that’s nuts), but if you take just one look at it’s geography all of this blurs into insignificance. The countryside of Kosovo is absolutely stunning, and whilst it’s not the conventional walking route I’d love to hike in it’s mountains.

kosovo

10. Paris, France
9 is an annoying number so I’m adding Paris because it’s my favourite city in the world and I constantly want to be back there.

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This is by no means an exhaustive list, as given the chance I’d love to visit every corner of Europe. It’s just the places I’m dreaming of right now, as year abroad saving has pretty much halted all my travel plans until summer 2019. Have you visited anywhere on my list? Where do you want to visit next?

-Megan, listening to the new The Story So Far album (hint, it’s awesome) in Milan airport (guess who got inspired after a week off)

 

*all pictures in this post were sourced from Google Images, except the final image which is my own

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My Fitness Routine & What I Eat in a Week: Summer Edition

Hello lovely people!

After posting about my Fitness Journey, a few people asked me to share my diet & exercise routines with you all. This post will be exactly that – what I eat in a week during summer and some of the workout routines I get up to at home. Full disclosure before I get into this, I follow a vegetarian diet and I’m not hugely pushing for weight loss, this is just my approach to an ethical and (vaguely) healthy lifestyle.

Monday

 

Breakfast: Baked oatmeal (cinnamon substituted for cacao powder), topped with strawberries, crunchy peanut butter & cacao nibs.
Lunch: Salad bowl with veggies, cous cous, boiled egg, chutney, hummus & lighter cheese, followed by a packet of Sunbites crisps. I’d just been to the greengrocers, and I always love a big salad when the veggies are still nice and fresh.
Dinner: Kidney bean curry with wholemeal rice, naan & sweetcorn. I wouldn’t usually go for naan but my friend had them left over, and in hindsight I probably won’t buy wholemeal rice in future – it’s pricey and not as nice.
Snacks: Apple with crunchy peanut butter (post-workout).

Workout: Leg day! Before all my workouts I do a quick cardio warmup (no more than 5 minutes of jogging & star-jumps usually) and stretch. I then move onto any workout I can find online, my current favourites being sexy leg toner (yes, cringy name) or HASFit’s butt and thigh workout.

Tuesday

 

Breakfast: Same as Monday. I’m loving this super filling breakfast! It’s great now that it’s starting to get colder too.
Lunch: Same salad as Tuesday, except I boxed it up to take with me whilst homeware shopping (and had to steal a fork from Asda to eat it with). Followed by Sunbites crisps (can you tell they’re on offer?) and an apple.
Dinner: Sausage casserole (made with Tesco vegetarian sausages & without the bacon) with wholemeal pasta & peas. I love this recipe so much, though the sausages tasted far too much like meat and it was a bit weird.
Snacks: Aldi Benefit Chocolate & Fudge bar, would not reccomend, they taste like cardboard.

Workout: Rest day! My only goals on rest days are hitting 10k steps and if I get time, going for a quick walk.

Wednesday

 

Breakfast: Smoothie bowl (frozen red fruits, spinach, water, banana, hemp powder) topped with strawberries, cacao nibs, chia seeds, granola & milled linseed. All these extra bits are mostly from Aldi by the way, don’t think I’m hitting up fancy healthfood shops.
Lunch: Tesco Healthy Living lentil & vegetable soup and two pitta breads. This soup tastes exactly like my Grandma’s, so I’m willing to forgive it’s high salt content.
Dinner: A second serving of the kidney bean curry, because when you’re living alone you just have to repeat meals.
Snacks: The curry was a pretty small portion, so I indulged and had pancakes made with soya milk for dessert (I regret nothing).

Workout: Run day! I’ve been working on increasing my distance, and I’m finding 6km my absolute limit at the moment. Not bad for a someone who detested running a few months ago.

Thursday

 

Breakfast: Porridge topped with banana & strawberry jam. Porridge is pretty much a winter student staple, it’s too cheap not to love.
Lunch: Pitta breads topped with hummus, fried veggies & 2 poached eggs. This is the epitome of “I don’t know what to eat for lunch so let’s just cook everything in the fridge.”
Dinner: A second serving of the sausage casserole because I defrosted it thinking it was chilli (I’m stupid). I had it with noodles though to change it up, because variety is the spice of life.
Snacks: Carrots & hummus (my favourite thing ever) and an Options white hot chocolate in the evening.

Workout: Rest day! I went for a pretty long walk to listen to an episode of Dear Hank and John, a totally awesome podcast.

Friday

 

Breakfast: Same as yesterday.
Lunch: Wholemeal wraps filled with hummus, falafel, veggies & lighter cheese, followed by strawberries and a Special K Biscuit Moments strawberry bar. This is an average lunch for a busy day at uni or work too, because it’s easily packable.
Dinner: Gnocchi with pesto topped with fried veggies and lighter cheese. This is a great quick dinner for busier days, as the gnocchi only takes about 5 minutes to cook.
Snacks: Apple & crunchy peanut butter, as I worked out in the morning and needed some post-workout protein. I also had a soya flat white whilst I worked in a cafe in the afternoon.

Workout: Arms & abs day! Sometimes I make up my own sequence using this chart or this one from Pinterest. If I want someone else to come up with my workout I use this abs & back workout, the muffin top melter (again, cringy), or something from Chloe Ting on YouTube.

Saturday

 

Breakfast: Red berries smoothie (frozen berries, banana, hemp protein powder, chia seeds, spinach, water), and then when I got back from Parkrun I had a banana with crunchy peanut butter and an Aldi Benefit chocolate & fudge bar.
Lunch: Wraps filled with hummus, falafel & fried veggies, popped back in the frying pan to toast. The wraps taste so much better when they’ve been toasted.
Dinner: I forgot to take a photo, but I had a stirfry made with Szechuan tomato sauce, veggies & fake chicken. I also had a beer with it because hey, it’s Saturday.
Snacks: Not sure if this counts as snacks but I went out for drinks with a friend that night so liquid calories happened. I also got chips on the way home because I’m a fake fitness blogger.

Workout: Today I ran my first Parkrun! I had a great time; the Durham course is beautiful and the people there were really welcoming. I also got my best 5k time to date – 33:39.

Sunday

 

Breakfast: Feeling a little worse for wear I dragged myself up to a bowl of baked oatmeal with jam.
Lunch: Wrap pizzas (think normal pizza but using a wholemeal wrap for the base instead of dough) topped with tomatoes & onion. This is easily my favourite lunch, and super filling.
Dinner: I call this “everything in the fridge” curry. I was trying to get things used up before I go on holiday, so I fried onions, baby sweetcorn, carrots, pepper & chickpeas then added balti paste & vegetable stock, and it actually turned out pretty nice! I had it with brown rice.
Snacks: Crispbreads dipped in hummus and a Special K biscuit moments bar (I get weirdly hungry after drinking).

Workout: After 2 days of workouts Sunday was a well-earned rest day.

 

So, that’s how I try and stay healthy in my daily life! You’ll probably see that it’s not the strictest diet and portion control, because to be honest I’m not a health fanatic. I’m a foodie and I don’t believe in diet culture, I just enjoy fitness and good homemade food. I will make an updated post when I go back to university to let you know how I fit fitness around studying, but for now, tell me what your favourite meal is in the comments!

-Megan, listening to JAWS and having a chilled morning

My Top Packing Tips for a Short City Break

Hello lovely people,

By the time you’re reading this post I will be on the first leg of my journey to beautiful Italian sunshine in Milan. After the whirlwind of Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Truck Festival in July I couldn’t bear the thought of my summer adventures coming to an end, so I did the age old trick of searching for flights to “everywhere” on Skyscanner. £35 on a flight and £50 on a hostel later I was all set for Milan and my first ever experience as a solo traveller just before the new university term.

It’s two days until I leave right now so I thought I would share some of my top tips for how to pack light for 5 days on cabin baggage. I’m a self-confessed packing phobe, and usually leave it until the very last minute, but over the years I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

packing

Write a list

This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s something I only started doing recently. You only ever have to do it once, because aside from changing the amount of clothes you need every trip has pretty much the same essentials. Make sure you tick things off as you get them out and as you put them into your suitcase, to ensure nothing gets behind.

Invest in a good suitcase or backpack

I’m usually a backpack kind of person (I went on a week long exchange trip with a hiking backpack this year… other students were very confused), but when it comes to cabin baggage, I’m opting for a suitcase. I could have invested in an adequately sized hiking backpack, but they’re quite pricey and heavy. I also like being able to carry my “daypack” in the airport, to keep my flight essentials and clothing etc separate. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s durable and easy to transport.

Make use of staple clothing pieces

Much as the stripy top and floral shorts might look great, you’re never going to wear them together. That means you’ll end up having to take extra items to match them with, which is an unnecessary waste of space. Opt for things you can wear multiple times and combine with different items to make new outfits, such as plain denim shorts.

Wear what you can to the airport

Now, I’m not saying I’ll be trekking up to the train station with 3 jumpers and a coat on, but I will be wearing some of my more bulky items such as jeans. Chances are if you’re flying from the UK you’re probably going to need the layers on this side of your adventure too!

Keep things organised

When it comes to security obviously you’ll have to be removing all electrical items and liquids. It’s 1000x easier to do this if you know where they are and can simply pull them out of your suitcase. I also like to have all my cables in a ziplock bag, so that they don’t clutter up my bag and they’re easy to find.

Roll your clothing

This saves so much space! I even do it when I’m moving back to university after holidays, as you can pack so much more in without folding things.

Buy a microfibre towel

These are the very thin types of towels that dry much more quickly and take up way less room. Standard towels are bulky and a nightmare to get dry on the day you leave your trip, so I never take them. You can pick these up in the likes of Home Bargains for just £5, or many sports shops have them too.

 

My most important tip is HAVE FUN (cringy? yes. do I care? no). City breaks are my favourite kinds of holidays, and they’re pretty easy to pack for because they’re often so short. I probably won’t be around much for the next few days as I’m going to try and take a bit of a break whilst I’m away, so if you see me on Twitter too much please remind me to go and enjoy myself!

 

-Megan, listening to a Spotify Daily Mix (it’s really not an exciting music day today)

 

The BEST Student Homeware Finds for 2018

Hello lovely people!

I want to dedicate this post to my lovely friend Alex. It may seem weird dedicating a simple haul to someone, but as a fellow homeware lover she was as excited as I was when I was decorating my new second year house. She also keeps me sane, and is constantly supportive in everything I do, including this blog. Love you man.

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As I said, I’ve recently moved back over to Durham and into my house. I’m in the process of making it feel more homely, or as homely as it can be without my six other housemates. This has meant I’ve spent far too much money on random pretty stuff, and in the interests of self-justification I thought I’d write this post.

Bedroom

My bedroom is mostly decorated with photos and old tickets, but there’s always room for some extras. If anyone wants a room tour, let me know!

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Duvet Cover – Primark – £11
Now, I can’t stress enough how much I didn’t need this. I have two perfectly good duvet covers, and obviously I can only have one on my bed at any one time. But I’m an absolute sucker for mustard, and at £11, you really can’t go wrong. It adds a different pop of colour to my room, so I’ve decided it was a worthwhile purchase.

 

 

img_20180914_142421007.jpgBasket – ASDA – £2
I was looking for a way to store my toiletries, as having them loose on my shelves was resulting in them regularly getting a bit haphazard. Enter ASDA, which as an aside, is full of amazing homeware bits that are super cheap (£5 for a kitchen bin? I’m still excited). I love this basket, as it’s a bit more sturdy than a wicker approach. I chose white to match my walls and desk, in some vague attempt at creating a theme.

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Frames – Primark – £1.50 & £2
Feminist quotes at a cheap price in beautiful white frames? Did you mean; MY DREAM?! I absolutely love the pastel colours of these prints, and the typography is equally as stunning. I have these set up in the corner of my desk as a constant reminder of how badass women are as I work throughout the day.

 

 

img_20180914_142533047.jpgPlants – IKEA – £0.95 & £3
Now, I had a cactus last year named Dave. Sadly, Dave is no longer with us, so in the interests of not causing any more plant deaths I decided it was time to downscale nature’s influence in my room. The smaller of the two is actually artificial, so I only have one plant to mother for the year. They’re a really cute addition to any room though, again adding to my white theme.

 

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Makeup Bag – Primark – £4
Now, this technically isn’t homeware, but I still think it’s adorable! My makeup bag broke, and I thought it was about time I downsized anyway to save space when I’m travelling. Grumpy cat is my absolute spirit animal, and I love cacti too, so it’s the perfect combination.

Kitchen

I was self-catered in first year so didn’t need to add much to my kitchen ensemble, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t down for some cute extras.

img_20180914_142714140.jpgMason Jar – Home Bargains – £1
I’ve been looking for somewhere to store my ground coffee for a while, as because I’m a bit of a coffee snob I’m very aware of the importance of keeping your coffee in a sealed container. At just £1 this mason jar was the perfect solution, and looks a little classier than a basic glass jar or plastic box. Now I just need to work on not smashing it…

 

img_20180914_142646607.jpgBottle Opener Plaque – The Range – £2.99
I love a good multipurpose item, and this plaque is definitely that. I already know it’s going to be a great addition to house parties, because I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to hunt for a bottle opener. Well, that won’t be a problem for us anymore. I also love the motto that comes along with it, as I’m a firm craft beer lover (there’s a free little-known fact for you!).

Bathroom

I’ve only got one item here, as my bathroom is pretty small and I’m yet to think of more creative ways to decorate it. If anyone has any ideas let me know!

img_20180914_142810260.jpgToothbrush Holder – ASDA – £3
I spent ages convincing myself that I didn’t need a toothbrush holder, but I’m sure when my housemates get back this will be a great way to avoid sink clutter. I chose a bright and multicoloured design to give a little pop to an otherwise pretty drab room.

 

 

 

I feel like I’m a real lifestyle blogger now I’ve done a homeware haul. I’m sure there will be more to come, as for some reason I have no restraint when it comes to cute little trinkets (am I 40? apparently). What essentials do you reccomend for a first time liver-out?

 

-Megan, writing in my new favourite Durham coffee shop (it’s full of vegan goodies and I am EXCITED)

On Having a Diverse Music Taste

Have you ever wanted to listen to a playlist that skips from heavy metal to broadway musicals and back to grime? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

music taste

Hello lovely people!

I’ve been struggling to decide what to write about when it comes to music, because I consider it one of the most important parts of my personality. Seriously, I think it’s up there with being Northern (which is apparently a defining trait when your uni friends are all from Eastern Europe or the South) and a linguist (literally what I do day in day out). I’ve been going to gigs since I was 13, can only give directions across Newcastle using venues, and can almost always be seen walking across Durham engrossed in whatever’s coming through my headphones that day.

Perhaps the best way to start is to introduce you to my taste. 8 years of band shirts will tell you I’m into the alternative side of things, but there’s a lot more to what I listen to nowadays than My Chemical Romance (perhaps one day I’ll talk about my emo phase… and my rap phase… and my metal phase…I’m very phasey). I try and keep up with what’s new across all genres, and as a result have 8 different genre playlists on Spotify, because I am definitely that gal that organises her music library in every way possible.

“remember when I had a rap phase?”

A couple of years ago I went through a massive Kanye West phase, and I’m still ashamed of myself. Thankfully, I have learned that rap is not only concentrated around problematic Trump supporters, but is also filled with some gems. I mainly love rap for it’s social commentary, something which is growing in the UK especially with the rise of grime.

My Top 3: Childish Gambino, Stormzy, Kendrick Lamar

“the heaviest of metal”

I take my role as someone who doesn’t look like a metalhead but listens to lots of heavy bands very seriously. Whilst I now have a few tattoos, blue hair and some ripped jeans, I’d still fit in more at a Courteeners gig than in the middle of an Avenged Sevenfold pit. Metal is such a diverse genre though; I love every single part of it. And for the record; metalheads are the nicest people on the planet, true fact.

My Top 5: A Day to Remember, Enter Shikari, Marmozets, Metallica, Tremonti

“gay shit”

Many people find it very entertaining when they find that I listen to Broadway musicals. When you think about it though, it makes sense. I’m bi, very political and love a good singalong.

My Top 3: Rent, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon

“pop???? I don’t know her”

In the last year or so pop music has wormed it’s way into my library, as I become less of a dick about only listening to songs with guitars in. A lot of it is Latino, true, but I’ve also got some English bops in there. Also, I love badass feminist pop anthems more than anything in the world.

My Top 5: Lorde, Stromae, Everything Everything, George Ezra, Melendi

“GUITARSSSSSS (rock)”

Obviously, general rock takes a very large slice of the pie. I could go on for days about countless bands, but I want to focus on how genuinely diverse rock music is. Sure, you can narrow it down, but if you think about it the spectrum goes right from Southern American rock focusing on biblical imagery to political punks. I’ve been listening to rock since I listened to Evanescence & Foo Fighters on my Dad’s playlists as a kid, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.

My Top 3: Alter Bridge, Twin Atlantic, Halestorm

“pop punk isn’t dead mom”

I’m 19 years old and still unashamedly pop-punk. I recently started listening to the bands I used to love again, and I was taken right back to being 14. I mean, I have an All Time Low tattoo for christ’s sake. All joking aside, this is the genre that’s been the most important throughout my teenage years, and I’ll always love it for that.

My Top 5: All Time Low, Moose Blood, Dead! (RIP), Neck Deep, Tonight Alive

“indie trash”

Finally, indie. This is something else that’s fairly new to me by all accounts, as a result of the combination of listening to too much Radio X and being introduced to friends’ music at uni. Indie is feel good, bright, and happy; I love it.

My Top 5: Courteeners, Nothing But Thieves, Peace, We Are Scientists, The Wombats

 

I feel like we’re a little more acquainted musically now. In summary, I’ll listen to just about anything once, and probably enjoy it too. What are your guilty pleasure genres?

 

-Megan, listening to classic pop punk

University 101; My Freshers Week Story

Hello lovely people!

I’m back in Durham, I’ve rebuilt my pasta stocks and town is beginning to fill up with returning students –  it must be the start of a new term. Those of you heading to university for the first time will be eagerly anticipating Freshers Week, probably feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The internet is filled with tips and tricks about how to get the most out of the week, so I thought instead of repeating that advice I’d talk about my experience in hopes that I can give you some peace of mind that it’s all going to be okay.

freshers

Every good story starts with an introduction, so here’s some context to my time as a fresher. I study Modern Languages at Durham University, and my freshers week was in October 2017. Freshers Week at Durham is a little different, as it’s a collegiate university, so most of the events are organised by the college JCR (think student body committee). I’m a student at St Cuthbert’s Society and lived in self-catered halls in first year.

Move-In Day

I arrived in Durham with my parents and then boyfriend who had come to help me move in, and I was terrified. After getting my keys and unpacking I completely broke down on my poor boyfriend, as even though I could not be more excited to start my degree I was very worried about making friends and settling in. But, after everyone left, I picked myself up and told myself it was going to be okay, and it really was!

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My room on day 1 looks so bare compared to how it was at the end!

My favourite story from that day is how I met my lovely Welsh idiot Ffion. She totally catfished me. I was in my flat corridor, when a random girl just turned to me and said “Hey, I know you”. I was extremely confused because I didn’t recognise this person at all. Until she said “yeah I know, I really don’t look like my Facebook profile picture”. Turns out we’d been talking for weeks beforehand after meeting on our college Facebook group chat! We continued bonding instantly, and Ffi became the extrovert I attatched myself to for the whole of first year.

I met the rest of my flat pretty quickly. We were 6 girls of 6 different nationalities, which has always been our little claim to fame. I bonded with my now college wife (more on that someday) Oana because she was wearing a My Chemical Romance t-shirt, and my American buddy Anna because I was belting out Hamilton far too loudly with the door open. You really do make friends in the most random of ways in freshers!

College Events

Each night throughout freshers my college organised a night out and a more chilled night. I went out I think 3 times; to a white t-shirt party (think signing shirts), a subject social and a space party. They were okay, but not really my thing, as I’m pretty uncomfortable going clubbing when it’s with people I don’t know.

 

 

Our white t-shirt party was the first event I went to, and took place in our lovely (and ridiculously cheap) college bar. That was the night when I met my now housemate Callum (you got your shoutout, do I get a pint in return now?). At that point I obviously didn’t know the bar has a card limit, so I ended up buying drinks for myself, Ffion and Callum when we’d only known each other for all of 5 minutes. I’m pretty sure we bonded over music, which makes a lot of sense considering at every party we have now it’s us two who dictate the music.

Durham being Durham, we also had a formal and matriculation that week. It was the first and last formal I left sober, and I’m pretty sure I was hungover throughout the entire matriculation ceremony (that’s the fancy one in the cathedral that makes us officially Durham students). It was also absolutely pouring down on matriculation day, meaning I had my first experience navigating wet cobbles in heels. There’s a reason why you never see me in my formal pictures with heels on anymore!

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Can’t get over how different I look just one year ago! (I’m on the far left)

 

 

That time I cut my finger…

This is the main story I have from freshers week, and the one which still gets told at almost every house party. I cut my finger on a potato peeler whilst washing up, and then didn’t stop bleeding for 2 hours. 2 HOURS! The flat had me bandaged up with my arm above my head for most of that 2 hours, as the porters were largely unhelpful and basically left us to deal with it. Obviously I did eventually stop bleeding, but it was a pretty embarrassing bonding experience with my flat. Pretty sure I didn’t go out that night…

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Final feelings

Freshers week was weird. You’re thrown into a new city with a bunch of people you don’t know, away from everything that’s familiar to you. You spend a week introducing yourself time and time again and having to be up for social events 24/7, something that doesn’t quite work for my introversion. I have some good memories from the week, but I also spent a lot of time sleeping and hiding from the world.

My main piece of advice is not to put too much pressure on freshers week. Yes, if you spend the whole week hiding in your room you probably won’t get much out of it. But, by the same token, if you’re not into going out and partying all the time you shouldn’t have to. Seek out chilled events and chat with people in the canteen instead. Freshers isn’t a universal experience and should fit whatever you’re into, so have a good time!

 

-Megan, listening to Badflower (tiny band, would reccomend!)

 

 

 

 

A Day in York, England

Hello lovely people!

My travel posts have been few and far between recently, because as I said in the August Edit, I just haven’t been anywhere. But eventually sitting inside your house and doing nothing all day gets really dull, so myself and my friend decided to take a trip to York a couple of weeks ago. This is what we got up to!

york

We arrived in York at around 11am, after a couple of hours of driving and a shuttle bus. I don’t usually opt for park & ride schemes as I find them a little cumbersome, but this one was too cheap to say no to in comparison to the extortionate city centre parking prices. I know you all love a good parking-based money saving tip, that’s what you came to this blog for right?

York is much like Durham. It has a cathedral, cobbled streets and a river running through it, so I felt very at home. More importantly, its traditional vibe means the city has absolutely beautiful architecture. It’s definitely one to just wander around and see what you can find, whether that be the ancient city walls or pretty side streets. The big attraction of the city however is York Minster, an extremely impressive looking building. We didn’t pay to enter the Minster, but it’s worth walking into the area before the box office to check out some of the stained glass windows, which are just stunning!

 

I wish I’d had more time to check out the city’s coffee shops, as there were some awesome looking espresso bars and places with locally roasted beans. I’m a bit of a coffee nerd, it has to be said. We did make time for lunch however, at the cafe attached to the Lawrance Apart-Hotel. It’s vibe was a little more corporate than I tend to prefer, but the prices were surprisingly acceptable and the staff very friendly! I had a mozzarella, pesto and tomato panini (vegetarian cafe staple), while Thomas opted for a bacon sandwich, which was commended for it’s value for money!

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I took a picture of my food! Am I a real blogger now?

Our main love in York however was the bookshops – God bless my bank account. The city is full of amazing second-hand bookshops which have books on everything from the history of Unilever (one of Thomas’ choices) to the specifics of what the communists were up to in Paris during the second world war written in French (no prizes for guessing that was one of my purchases). We spent a good couple of hours wandering around these places and uncovering some real gems. I’d highly reccomend Ken Spelman Bookseller for their second-hand stuff and Minster Gate Bookshop for their bargain basement (£3/4 for brand new novels? Yes please!).

 

It’s not just bookshops that York is great for though, it’s the shops in general. If you shy away from the high street you’ll come across some really quirky independent places with really friendly staff. Of course The Shambles is included in this; York’s famously narrow medieval street which is lined with some of the most fabulous smelling food shops ever! Just off The Shambles there’s also a lovely market which was again nice to wander around.

 

In conclusion if you like walking around and looking at pretty things, York is for you. For the bookshops and cafes alone I’ll definitely be making a return very soon – it’s so worth the trip!

-Megan, listening to…. actually nothing for once – THIS IS A FIRST!