Reflections

Hello. It’s been a while since I’ve checked in here and quite frankly a while since I’ve checked in with myself. I thought I’d take the time on this sunny afternoon to sit down and give myself space to write, let the words flow out of my head and onto the digital page. I think it’s very easy to forget to take time out to just sit and think when life becomes fast-paced and I’ve definitely fallen into the cycle of suppressing thoughts and feelings and saying I’ll ‘deal with them later’. Well, I guess now it’s time to start dealing with it.

Generally, the past few months have been great. I was determined to enjoy my second term at uni a lot more than the first and I definitely have. I’ve got used to living independently now and am (mostly) managing my workload. I’ve also done a lot of things outside of my comfort zone like applying to become a peer mentor next year, starting volunteering and applying for jobs/summer placements (I somehow managed to get called to interview in a few weeks ahhh). However, all this has come at the price of me feeling really disconnected from myself and the present.

Whilst I’m happy with how this past term has gone, it feels like my life is very quickly moving in a direction that I’m not sure I want it to go. I thought going to uni would open more doors for me, but it feels like I am constantly having to make decisions which are leading me down an ever-narrowing path. It’s probably irrational, but the more I specialise in my degree – by picking my second year modules for example, which resulted in me switching degree again from Politics and International Relations to just International Relations – the more I lose touch with myself. Part of me still feels like I’m not doing what’s ‘right’ for me, despite having changed degree twice. I think part of the problem is I don’t know what is the right pathway for me yet I’m making decisions which will impact my future career prospects.

I know, realistically, I don’t have to go into a career that directly relates to my career, but I think being surrounded by other politics/IR students all the time who do want to go into careers in governments, NGOs, policy making etc. is making me feel like I should do the same. I’ve also realised that I’m not an overly political person. I don’t have really strong views about things and politics isn’t my passion, I just enjoy studying how the world works and politics/IR is one lens through which I can understand the world. I do love my degree, but it doesn’t define me as a person and I have many other interests alongside which I’m worried are going to get pushed to the side as I get further through my degree.

Also one thing that’s always in the back of my mind is my love of languages and how studying and speaking French made me feel. I wouldn’t say I regret dropping French at uni as I know the course wasn’t right for me and that I’d like my journey with French to continue by moving to France using the language in a practical way. However I do really miss it. It’s a bit strange but since I’ve come home for Easter, I keep finding myself spontaneously thinking and speaking in French – much to the annoyance of my family who don’t understand half of what I’m saying when I respond, almost automatically, to their questions in French. I think it’s because being back home reminds me of studying French and that part of my life where languages were very important to me.

That leads me onto another thing I wanted to talk about. Coming home from uni is very strange and hard to adjust to. I mean, it’s probably my fault as I had been away from home for around two months before I came back for Easter. It feels like my life has stopped and I’m stuck in this weird sort of limbo where time is passing really slowly. I feel like my life at uni is very fast paced and because I’m settled in there now, my life back home feels like it’s stopped. I’m not sure if this is making sense, but it’s really hard coming home and trying to work out how I fit back into my old, given how much I’ve grown since moving out.

I really wish life wasn’t flying past so quickly. I always seem to be planning something or waiting for something to happen in the future, never being able to fully enjoy the present. My mind is always thinking about the next thing. I think this is partially due to the fact that every week at uni is very different and friendships in particular are constantly changing. It’s really hard to hold on to a single moment before it slips away.

I’m not sure why but I feel very uncertain about the future at the moment. And I don’t just mean the distant future but even about what will happen in the next month or so after exams are finished and I’m allowed to go home for summer break. I know I’ll be coming back to university in September, I’m just not sure what will happen in between. I’m not ready for the long summer break and feeling like time has stopped again, as I do now, but I don’t want to spend the whole summer waiting for September and missing out on the present. I think I’ll need those few months though to properly slow down and catch up with myself before I become too lost.

I don’t think writing this has made me feel any less like I’m living in a whirlwind, but I guess it’s a start to slowing down a bit and trying to experience the present without worrying about the future. I think I just need to have a little faith that hings will work out in the end and I don’t need to be so worried about what the future holds. I really hope you’re having a lovely bank holiday weekend if you’re in the UK and hopefully I’ll be writing more frequently soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

HOW am I half way through second semester??!!?

Snow in Windsor!

You can tell by the slightly over the top title that Spring term is just going SO FAST and next week is the last week of lectures before reading week (a.k.a. half term but not half term bc unis don’t get that lol…except some of us do). Honestly since coming back from Winter break, time has passed so quickly and I think that’s because I’ve been throwing myself into lots of things, which is good!!

I wanted to just write a little update about what I’ve been up to and reflect on the term so far!

I was determined to make this term better than the last and although it got off to s bit of a rocky start with some major breakdowns and trips to the uni wellbeing service, I am doing a lot better now! I feel like I’m the happiest I’ve been since starting uni.

Talking to the wellbeing advisors has helped me let go of a lot of stuff that was holding me back and getting me down last term, in terms of both the social and academic side of uni. I’ve always put pressure on myself academically and I think just having someone to tell me that I my work doesn’t need to be perfect and I am allowed to let myself relax has really helped. Also, I was feeling very lost and struggling with making friends, but the wellbeing team helped me to realise that friendships take time and I will make good friends eventually!! So I’m generally feeling a lot happier in myself now.

I’ve also stopped using Snapchat and Instagram, because I think there were affecting my mental health quite a lot as I kept comparing my experience of uni to my friends and making myself feel bad that I wasn’t having an “amazing” time, but I think I’m over that now because I know that I can shape my uni experience to how I want it to be and I don’t need to live up to society’s expectations of student life.

In terms of what I’ve been up to this term, I’ve done quote a few fun things! I’ve been trying to go and explore new places every Sunday to give me a day off and help me relax and so far I’ve been into London to see the Winter Lights Festival in Canary Wharf, which was amazing although I practically froze and I’ve also been to Windsor and Eton to explore. I’ve also been on a hike in the snow (IT SNOWED!! TWICE!! And uni turned into Narnia!) with hiking society and trying to meet up with friends from outside my course more often, which has been really nice!

I feel like this term I’m definitely balancing the social side of uni with studying more and I’m feeling really good in myself, which I’m happy about!!

Something else I’ve started doing this term is volunteering at a local Scout group which was honestly terrifying at first and quite far out of my comfort zone, but I’m so proud of myself for doing it and now I’m really enjoying it.

I’ve got lots of exciting things coming in the second half of this term like going to the watch The Last Leg live on Friday and doing a Monopoly Run around London with the Scouts which my mum and sister are both coming down to do, so it will be nice to see them!

I’m going home for a few days in my reading week just so I can focus on essays as there are too many distractions at uni, and also it’s my friends birthday so I’ll be able to catch up with her. Also in March my friend from home is coming to stay and we’re going to explore London together which will be so nice!!

So yeah, I think that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to so far this term! Hope school/college/uni is going well for you all and catch up soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

5 Student-Friendly Veggie Meals!!

Hello!! Since coming back from winter break, I’ve been really enjoying getting back into cooking. It’s weird really because before uni I couldn’t cook at all and now I’m always looking up new recipes, buying new foods and experimenting with different ingredients. Although sometimes cooking can be tiring after a long day, I really like feeling in control of what I’m eating and to be honest I think I eat a lot more healthily at uni than at home!

Today I’ll be sharing some of my favourite meals to have as a student and all of them are budget friendly too!! As I said in my 2019 goals post, I’m going to work on becoming vegetarian this year, so all of the meals I’m including are veggie friendly!! (Also apologies that the photography is not great haha, was trying to sneakily take photos of my food without people thinking I’m weird!)

The first meal I’m going to talk about is pretty basic but it was still really nice!! I had a cauliflower cheese grill which sounds really odd but honestly it was so nice! Then along with this I had some sweet potato wedges which I made myself, carrots, cabbage and peas. This is what I call a “freezer meal” – something I have when I can’t be bothered to cook from scratch but it’s very versatile as you could swap the cauliflower cheese grill for any type of pasty, slice or whatever you feel like! I buy most of my veg frozen and one bag of frozen peas literally lasted me the whole of last term, so this works out as a very cheap meal. Also I had gravy with this because I literally eat gravy with everything at the moment ๐Ÿ˜‚

The second meal I’m going to talk about is something I cooked for the first time a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it! It was sort of something I just threw together but it actually turned out to be delicious. Essentially, it is a chick pea stir fry with noodles. As I’m trying to incorporate veggie meals into my diet, I thought I’d experiment with chick peas as a source of protein. I usually find chickpeas really bland but this time I made a sort of dressing with oil, mixed herbs, salt and pepper which I coated them in before adding them to the rest of the veg I was stir frying and they ended up having a really creamy taste. I then just cooked some noodles on the side. This meals literally took about 10-15 minutes to make and it was so nice, I will definitely be making it again! Also, any type of stir fry is such a great student staple as you can literally chuck any left over veg in a pan and fry it.


My photography skills really don’t make these meals look appetising lol but this next one is one of my favourite things I’ve cooked!! As you can probably tell, I love sweet potatoes as this meal consisted of two sweet jacket potatoes (cooked ร  la microwave bc the oven is SLOW), stir fried greens, sweet corn and pepper with homemade baked beans!! I mean, I had baked beans in my cupboard but there’s something so satisfying about making your own! I made my baked beans by boiling a tin of chopped tomatoes then adding some kidney beans which were left over from the day before, but haricot beans also work well! (Although I am aware this meal was basically just veg lol and doesn’t have much protein, I’m still working on making balanced veggie meals!)

(I mean, the photography just keeps going downhill but OH WELL). This next meals was another sort of improvised meal. I had a panini to use so I decided to make panini pizzas by grilling them with tomato puree, cheese, peppers and tomatoes on top. I then made sweet potato fries which I either coated in paprika or Italian herbs, I can’t remember, and then had LOTS of spinach on the side (why do they make bags of spinach so big?? It’s a STRUGGLE to get through it before it goes out of date!!)

Finally we have a nother quick meal which I just through together the other day but it actually turned out well! I had spinach and ricotta filled pasta with fried egg, pepper and sweetcorn and some kale. I absolutely love filled pasta (and it’s always on offer in Tesco ayy) and this was just another case of using up veg.

I’m actually pretty proud of the amount of veggie meals I’ve been eating. I’d say I’ve got to a point where half of my evening meals per week are veggie, and I’m pretty impressed with that!

If you’re a student like me, I hope these meals have given you a few ideas! I love trying out new meals so please let me know what your go-to meals are or just veggie-friendly meals in general, I would love to get some tips!

Things I Love About Uni!

As you are probably aware if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I do like a bit of a rant about uni. So, I thought it was time to spread some positivity on my blog – both for your sake and mine – by sharing with you some of the things I love about being at university!

Meeting Newย People

I’ve never thought of myself as being very good at meeting new people, but I suppose that’s because at home I’d gone through primary school, secondary school and college with pretty much the same people so I was rarely in a situation where I could meet new people. However, since coming to uni I have discovered I absolutely love meeting people from such a diverse range of backgrounds. Being close to London, my university is quite international which means I’ve met people from all over the world, as well as around the UK, and I find it so interesting learning about other people’s cultures and experiences. At first it was a bit daunting being in a place where I knew no one, but you’ve just got to remind yourself that 99% of other freshers are in the same position! I love the fact that there are so many people here to meet and there’s always new opportunities to get to know new people through your course, societies, mutual friends or even just bumping into people in the library. I’ve also been able to meet more like-minded people which is such a refreshing experience – and slightly mind-blowing – when you meet someone who may have had a completely different upbringing to you but you still perceive the world in a similar way!

Exploring a New Area

If you know me well you’ll know that I am very much an adventurer and that exploring new places makes me feel alive! I didn’t know much about the area of the UK that my university is located in before coming here (and to be honest I still don’t!!) but being somewhere completely different to home means there’s always new places to discover. I’m quite a restless person and don’t like being in one place for too long, so often if I have a day or an afternoon off I’ll go on a spontaneous trip somewhere. For example, I went into London to wander around and look at the Christmas lights. I’ve only been to London probably less than 10 times in my life so there is still so much of it to explore and I really don’t know my way around! I also go walking a lot, mainly because I’ve joined the hiking society and also because I just love walking. Last week I went on a two hour hike in between my lectures just because the sun was shining and I wanted to get out and about. I really do love where my university is, even though it’s a campus and not in a city, I love the surrounding area and how it’s so close to London and lots of other interesting places to explore.

Cooking

Before coming to uni, I actually really didn’t enjoy cooking but now, surprisingly, cooking dinner has become one of my highlights of the day. I really love having the freedom to buy my own food and cook what I like – not that I didn’t like my parents cooking at home, but it’s so satisfying to sit down and eat something you’ve taken the time cook! I really love trying new recipes and experimenting with different ingredients and I find cooking dinner helps me to relax after a day of studying. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite meals in a post soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

My Degree

I am actually really loving my degree! You may remember I changed degree at the start of uni as studying French didn’t really work out how I wanted it to, and for a while I was a bit unsure whether Politics and International Relations was right for me as I always saw myself going into a career related to languages, but the more I study the more I realise this is the right path for me. I really feel like I’m learning about how the world works and what problems we’re facing on a global scale and it’s made me realise that i want to go into a career that will help make a difference to some of these global issues. My degree kind of encompasses all the bits I loved from studying geography, history and politics A Level as well as completely new stuff like philosophy which I find my mind is really in tune with, I’ve always like philosophising about thinks and I love the way that studying philosophy makes me think about the world today!

Every Week is Different!

Literally the weeks at uni fly by as I’m always busy doing one thing or another, and I love the variety of things I get to do here. my uni is really goof at putting on lots of events and although I don’t go to all of them, I have been to some like pet therapy and the Christmas market (we had ACTUAL reindeer!) which I’ve really enjoyed. Also I find each week my friendships with people change and grow – some weeks I become closer to some people and then the next I’ll grow closer to others. With every week I spend here, I feel a little bit more like this is the place for me.

My Room

I’m not going to lie, decorating my room was probably the thing I was most excited for when coming to uni. I’ve spent a lot of time making it feel homely and I absolutely love it!! my accommodation in general is just really nice and modern and I’m so happy with it. Also, I have an amazing view from my window, especially in the autumn – can’t wait to see what it’ll look like in spring!

So, that’s a few of the things I’m loving about uni so far!! I’m sure by the end of the year there will be many more!

If you’re at uni, what are you loving so far? And if you’re going to uni soon, what are you most looking forward to? ๐Ÿ™‚

2019 Goals!!

Pink and orange sky as the sun sets between trees

Okay so I know I’m a little bit let in setting out my goals for the new year, but honestly December just flew by so quickly that I didn’t have time to properly sit down and think about what I wanted to work towards next year.

Whilst doing some revision for my philosophy module the other day, I came across the concept of doing things that make you happy. Whilst this obviously isn’t anything new and I’ve always recognised living a happy life as the main goal I would like to reach, it really made me think about how we can be more happy and satisfied with the way that we live. In particular, the quote “have the courage to change your life in accordance with the moments that actually bring you happiness” stood out to me.

I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on the how I used my time last year. What things did make me happy and make me feel alive and what things didn’t and that I want to cut out of my life, so I think doing more things that genuinely make me happy is going to be my motto for this year and the basis of my 2019 resolutions.

Okay, that’s enough rambling, time to get into my goals!!

Social media

Pretty much ever since I was old enough, I’ve used social media on an everyday basis. Especially with blogging, social media became a vital way for me to communicate with friends, keep up with their everyday lives, read the news etc. I will admit I have become addicted to my phone and it’s really not good for my mental health, so this year I’m going to cut down on the time I spend on social media and using my phone in general, because there are so many exciting things to go and experience in life and I don’t want to waste time scrolling endlessly through social media! I’ve already managed to not use Snapchat and Instagram since New Year’s Eve so I think that this goal is going well so far?? I’m not sure if I want to completely cut out social media or just use it less so for now I’m going to take a break from a few at a time until I am in a better mindset where I can use them more moderately and be focused and content with what I am doing in my life rather than constantly comparing myself to other people, which is not good for my mental health! Since being at uni I have really learnt the value of picking up the phone and having a proper conversation with my friends and family, rather than just seeing what they’ve been up to on social media, so I hope to do this more often in 2019!

Live more sustainably

As I’ve grown up, I’ve become more and more conscious of the impact that our decisions and lifestyle choices have on the world around us. I think it’s really important to be aware of the problems are world is facing as the lifestyle we are currently living cannot be sustained forever unless we make some important changes. I’ve never really accepted that consuming so many natural resources, creating so much pollution and destructing so many ecosystems around the world is the way we’re meant to live or should live or just the way it is. I believe we can change our lifestyles to be less destructive to the environment and maybe that may seem unrealistic to others but I know there are things in my life that I could change to live more sustainably and this year I plan to do some of them.

Since becoming a student, I’ve had access to more money than I have before because of my student loan which has meant that I’ve been spending more moeny on clothes and just general consumer goods. My goal for this year is to think carefully before buying new things because realistically, I probably don’t need them or there are probably more ethical sources I could buy them from. I really want to be more conscious of what I buy and where it comes from because the “throw-away” society that we live in is damaging our environment. I know plastic pollution has been a big thing in the past few months, so I really want to be aware of how much plastic I am throwing away and try to reduce this as well.

In addition, this year I would really like to make progress towards becoming a vegetarian. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but have only really had the opportunity to since moving out to uni. I’d say at uni, about half of the meals I cook are currently vegetarian as meat is expensive and I’ve discovered I really love cooking and experimenting with new meals so have been exploring different ways to add protein to my diet other than meat. I need to do some more research into vegetarianism and it is a change that I will have to make gradually throughout the year but I’m hopefully that by the end of 2019, I will be eating fully vegetarian!

Get a job

I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory but I do really need to get a job this summer. When I graduate university (which is a scary thought) I really would like to move to France for a year because I was going to do a year abroad as part of my degree but since dropping French, I’m no longer able to do this. However, I still love speaking French and learning about French culture and it has been my dream for a long time to live there. So I really need to start saving for this as I have no idea how expensive moving abroad will be! Ideally I would get a job or an internship in France whilst I’m there as opposed to just travelling, but we’ll see what happens!

Travel

I really want to travel this year. I’ve been able to spend time abroad in the summer for the last two years with friends and with sixth form and it’s safe to say I’ve caught the travel bug. At the moment I have no travel plans set in stone, but I hope that will change soon!! I love visiting new places and gaining a different perspective on life. Even if I can;t travel abroad, I really want to spend more time exploring the UK, especially the area around my university as it is very different to back home!

Looking after my mental health

My last goal is quite a big one. 2018 was not a great year for me in terms of mental health so I’m very happy to see the back of that year, however I want to make sure that 2019 is better. Some things I really want to tackle are stress, self-confidence and accepting myself. I think self-confidence and struggling to accept myself are two things that I have been struggling with for a very long time and I know they are not things which can be fixed easily, but by recognising them as things I struggle with, hopefully I will be able to make more progress in overcoming this year. Stress is something I really need to get better at managing. I remember during GCSEs, I wasn’t really stressed at all or at least I managed it better but since starting sixth form and then going onto uni, my stress levels have been incredibly high and I’ve just lost the ability to deal with it. Often stress is what triggers periods of bad mental health for me so I’d really like to get a handle on it. One thing I’m going to do to look after my mental health is to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. I have used meditation before during exam time to calm me down and ground me, but I think meditating daily could really help me to stay mindful and think clearly instead of getting so stressed over everything.

So, those are all my goals for 2019. I know some of them are pretty big goals that I can’t achieve in a short space of time, but the new year is a blank canvas so who knows what progress I will have made by the end of the year!

I hope you enjoyed reading!

Have you set any goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

November wrap up!

Hello! It’s December yay!! In two weeks time I’ll be at home, beginning my month-long Christmas break which I am honestly so ready for. Today I thought I’d wrap up November by recapping what I’ve been up to, as well as some things I’m looking forward to in December. Time passes so quickly at university that it feels like I’ve done so much yet nothing at all, so it will be nice to look back at the past month!

Meeting bloggers!

I think I mentioned this in another post but at the beginning of November I met up with Megan, Kel, Eve and Janet and spent the day wandering around London, it was such aย  lovely day!

Going home!

My university had a reading week at the beginning of November too which essentially consisted of a week of no lectures to help us catch up on reading and work on our assignments. On the Wednesday of that week my mum and my sister came to visit, I showed them around my uni and we went shopping and ate out in the local town. Then my mum and I got the train home and I stayed until the Sunday. It was so weird being home, it almost didn’t feel like home anymore, but it was lovely to spend proper time with my family. We went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema, we watched our local illuminated carnival even though it was tipping it down and I also went to the Remembrance Day service. I also managed to see one of my friends who had come back from uni too so that was great!

Fantastic Beasts

Me and three of my uni friends went to see Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it as the first film was so good, but it was a good evening nonetheless!

Essays…ugh

I had three 2000 essays due in this month which each contribute to 25% of my grade for each of those three modules. Honestly I got so ridiculously stressed whilst writing these essays that it was making me ill as I couldn’t sleep and felt constantly exhausted and dizzy. It was not fun so next time essays are due I definitely need to manage my time better, try not to panic and make sure I’m sleeping and eating properly.ย 

Birthday!

Last Wednesday was my birthday! It was so weird not being at home, seeing my family or doing our usual birthday traditions, but I did have a nice day. My family had sent some cards and parcels to me so I did have some presents to open, then two of my uni friends took me out for brunch which turned into a shopping spree!

I also met up with my sister again last weekend as I was so stressed I just needed to get out of uni, so we met up in a town halfway between her uni and mine. Something I’ve learnt whilst being at uni is that sometimes you just need a bit of normality because everything can get overwhelming very quickly, so seeing family or talking to friends from home can really help you to put things in perspective.

So that’s how November panned out, now some things to look forward to in the coming month.

Obviously Christmas break is what I’m most looking forward to – I get to go home for a whole month and I can’t wait! I think coming up to the Christmas period I’ve been more homesick than previously as at this time of year I just want to be around my family. However I haven’t got long to wait!ย 

I’m really looking forward to just spending evenings with my family, playing board games and watching TV. I’ll also be going to Devon and Yorkshire to visit my grandparents which will be great as I haven’t seen them in about a year.

I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends from home too as we’ll finally all be in the same place.

I’m sad I don’t have time to do Blogmas this year, but if any of you are, let me know as I’d love to keep up with your posts!

I think that’s all for now, sorry this post has been a bit all over the place!

Travel Favourites: Memories from Extraordinary Places

Hello! I’ve been loving writing more travel-themed posts this summer (mainly because I really wish I could be traveling right now!!) and I think this is the direction I want my blog to head in, as well the odd post about studying or ramble about life. This time I thought I’d reminisce on some of my favourite memories from travelling and favourite places I’ve been to over the years. I haven’t travelled a lot or gone on a massive tour around multiple countries (I’d love to though!!), but I have been lucky enough to go to a few different places over the past few years, whether that be on family holidays, with school, friends or Scouts. I hope you enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Austrian Mountains

Sunset over a river with mountains in the background
This is one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken??? (I just wish 11 year old me knew how to focus a camera properly lol)

I went to Austria back in 2011 with Scouts and we stayed in a town called Stanzach in the Tyrol region. The scenery was breathtaking, particularly the mountains which you could see form anywhere within the valley. I remember going on many evening walks to the river in the photo and skimming stones and building dams whilst the sunset. We also took a ski lift to the top of a mountain then hiked down. I’d love to go back one day and explore the mountains more!

The Eden Project, Cornwall

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It’s been a fair few years since I visited the Eden Project, but I remember really enjoying my visit. There are some really interesting and exotic plants within the rain forest and tropical ‘biomes’. My family and I were obsessed with the mimosa which look like mini ferns but when you touch their leaves they close up! It was really cute haha.

Studland Bay, Dorset

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Studland is one of my favourite beaches! When I was younger, we went camping in Dorset quite often so we’d visit Studland a lot. It’s great for swimming as the water doesn’t get deep very quickly and great for sand castles too! One of the most amusing memories I have comes from this beach. My sister and I decided to partially bury my mum in the sand and turn her into a mermaid but we later discovered that we’d left the camera in the car park down the other end of the beach. Not wanting to miss this photo opportunity, my dad, my sister and I walked back to the car park, and on the way my dad was convinced he’d seen his brother and children playing in the sand, so he went over to say hello. My sister and I realised immediately it wasn’t them but my dad insisted and kept saying to the man “don’t lie, you are my brother!” (in a friendly way). He thought his brother was messing around haha (can you tell we don’t see our family often enough to recognise them haha??). Eventually my dad gave up (my sister and I were so embarrassed at this point) and we carried on walking to the car park. When we got there, the funniest coincidence happened – we bumped into his actual brother and his family ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ It was so funny! We told them about the mishap with the look-a-like and they said that that man was actually staying on the same campsite as them and that my cousins kept mistaking him for their dad, so at least it wasn’t just us!!! It was so weird though ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’ll never forget that haha.

Double-decker trains in Berlin!!

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I still get slightly excited by this but DOUBLE-DECKER TRAINS AHHHH. I didn’t know they existed until I went to Berlin???!!? We took one out of the city one day and it was a really cool experience even though I’m too tall to stand up on the top deck haha.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

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This beach really is a hidden beauty. We only found out about it as we are National Trust members and they own the land, but it is definitely worth a visit!! You have to walk quite far from the car park before you can descend the headland to the beach. The water was so blue!! And there were lot’s of little caves to explore. The main thing I can remember though is getting my hiking boots soaked. My dad told me to stand in front of this big rock to take a better picture of the sea, not realising that the waves came in really fast so when a big wave came in, my dad was able to scramble up onto the rock whilst I couldn’t because I was holding my camera so I was submerged up to my knees! When the wave went back out again though I was fine but had very soggy feet for the rest of the day!

Branscombe Beach, Devon

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As you may be able to tell, I really like beaches. I think it comes from growing up in a seaside town – I just love being on the coast! Branscombe Beach is another sort of hidden gem. We had to walk for a few hours to get there from our campsite, descending through the lovely village (and stopping for cake). The beach itself was stunning with sloping red cliffs and red-tinted water. My family and I spend a long time on the beach walking around, paddling and posing on various rocks for photos (as you can see above haha).

Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille

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I visited Marseille last year and one of the highlights of the trip has to be going to the Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral, which is perched atop a hill overlooking the city. The views were incredible, especially looking out to sea, and we had to take a little train up the hill to the cathedral which I’ll always remember as it was one of the first times I had a proper conversation in French (in France) as I was volunteered by my classmates to ask if our tickets were valid for the train. (Still surprised that I actually managed to do that, though! Speaking to natives can be daunting sometimes!).

MuCEM, Marseille

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Another memory from Marseille was visiting the MuCEM – the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations. The architecture of the building was?? INCREDIBLE?!! The outside is basically made to look like water ripples (I think??) so on the inside the light reflects through the gaps in the outer shell making it feel as if you were underwater! The actual exhibits themselves were really interesting too as I got to learn more about Mediterranean history and lifestyles. There’s a rooftop cafe with a bridge connecting you to Fort St. Jean, which used to guard the entrance to the port of Marseille. The Fort was full of things to explore and sadly we didn’t have enough time (or energy- it was so hot!!!) to do it all, so I’d definitely love to go back!

A’DAM Lookout, Amsterdam

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If you’ve read my Amsterdam series from back in July, you may remember me mentioning the A’DAM Lookout! It’s essentially a hotel with a restaurant and ‘lookout’ on top from which you can see across the city. It also has Europe’s highest swing which swings you over the edge of the tower!! I’m not the biggest fan of heights but I do LOVE being high enough up to see an amazing view, and the A’DAM Lookout definitely didn’t disappoint!! The whole experience of the Lookout was so fun, from getting stuck on a giant red horse, to battling the fierce wind and running for the ferry! Definitely one of the highlights of the holiday!

Porthor Beach, North Wales

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(Another beach oops!!). My family and I visited Porthor Beach on our most recent holiday to Snowdonia, North Wales. My dad is very good at planning holidays in that he picks out the less well-known places for us to visit, such as Porthor. It was very difficult to get to as we kept missing turnings, but after a longer than exepcted journey, it was definitely worth the hassle!! As far as beaches go, Porthor wsas fairly quiet which was nice because sometimes Studland Beach (which I mentioned earlier) is very busy and you don’t have much space. Porthor is also known as the Whistling Sands beach because!!! THE SAND WHISTLES WHEN YOU WALK AHHH! (I was probably way too excited by this but it was so fun!!! Although you can’t really sneak up on people haha). Due tot he type of sand at Porthor, when you walk the sand compresses and makes a sort of squeaky noise!! We spent the whole day at the beach, swimming in the sea which was clear blue and home to some jelly fish and also playing multiple matches of beach volley ball with our make-shift ‘net’ made of pebbles. It was great fun!

Aberglaslyn Gorge, North Wales

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Another memory from my holiday in Snowdonia was hiking through the Aberglaslyn Gorge. This was in the height of the heat wave in the UK so it’s safe to say we were VERY hot and possibly hiking in the heat wasn’t the BEST idea. However, the gorge was so beautiful!! The majority of the walk involved scrambling over rocks along the side of the river – some of which had metal handholds to help you across difficult sections. It reminded me of going canyoning in Austria! We had to stop halfway and cool off our feet in the river. When we reached Beddgeleret – a small village which is the river passes through – we stopped for an ice cream and looked around. It was sch a lovely little village, I could have seen myself living there, surrounded by the mountains. We sat on a wall by the river eating our ice creams and two tourists asked if they could photograph us sitting on the wall within the space of ten minutes which was STRANGE??

Snowdon Street, Porthmadog

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My final memory to share is from the same holiday again, this time of Snowdon Street in the town of Porthmadog. It may not seem the most interesting honestly it was so cool just walking through the town then at the bottom of a side street you can see Snowdon, perfectly framed between the rows of houses. I have so many memories of climbing Snowdon itself, which I shared here, and considering I couldn’t get any non-cloud covered photos whilst climbing it, I’m pretty pleased I had the opportunity to see Snowdon again, from the ground this time!!

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of my favourite memories from traveling and places I’ve been, I’ve certainly enjoyed reminiscing about them! There are so many beautiful and interesting places to see, whether that be in your own country or abroad. I’d love to hear your travel top picks below!