Last year I set myself five main goals for the year, so I thought I’d see how well I got on and post some of my goals for 2018.
Last year’s goals:
1 – read 50 books – I actually managed this for the first time since 2014!!! So happy!!! However, my reading was mostly in English and written by men, so didn’t quite read 20 books by women (only managed 14) or 10 in something that isn’t English (a somewhat embarrassing 4….enough said).
2 – visit 5 countries – yeah, didn’t do so well with this one. A solid 2 (UK and Spain). Even counting Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland as separate countries I still only visited 4…
Happy holidays, everyone! It’s that time of year again: Christmas!!
Rebecca from Rebecca Goes Rendezvous tagged me to do the Christmas Tag! She’s currently working as a lectrice d’anglais in the Lyon region of France. She blogs about her job and her travels, not just in France, but all over the world! I always look forward to reading her posts.
Since Christmas is very nearly here, what better way to get into the festive spirit than by doing this tag?!
For the first time in two whole decades, my immediate family and I will be celebrating Christmas back home this year rather than travelling to spend the holidays with my grandparents, so that’s going to be a bit different to what I’m used to. So, without further ado, here are the questions:
What’s your favourite Christmas film?
100% The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Honourable mention goes to Love Actually, which is finally on Netflix!)
Having submitted all my coursework and sat one of my two exams for the semester, I decided to give myself a day off from revision last Friday and headed through to Edinburgh for the day to visit the Christmas markets. Now, I’m normally a Glasgow girl through and through, but I have to hand it to the capital: their Christmas markets are much better (sorry Glasgow, I still love you!!).
I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack. Please excuse my dropping off the face of the earth for the past month or so while I’ve been getting back into the way of balancing university, part-time work, and running four times a week, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. Perhaps taking a year out the game and then coming back to what everyone calls the most difficult year of uni and taking on a bunch of extracurricular stuff on top of trying to maintain this blog wasn’t the smartest plan, but hey at least I’m ambitious, right?! And, being totally honest here, the only reason I’ve found/made the time to write this is because the niggle in my hip that’s been bothering me slightly for a month finally became a proper injury last week during my first intervals session of the year, and now I’m blessed(?) with a lovely groin strain injury and at least three weeks of no running. (Remember to replace your shoes every 500 miles, kids.) On the up-side, given I’ve been running for three or four years and this is the first injury I’ve picked up, I don’t think it’s all that bad. Just need to remember to be sensible with it and not try and run through it à la the past month.
Earlier this week I went down to London for the day for something very exciting (more info on that one coming soon). I had just under four hours to kill in the morning before the very exciting thing started, so I did what any sensible person would do having just travelled down on the overnight train and not slept at all: ran around central London like a mad woman trying to cram in as much touristy stuff as possible! Not counting multiple trips through various airports over the years, I’ve only actually been to London twice – and the last time was more than four years ago! Needless to say, I was absolutely buzzing to have a few free hours in the city.
The last time I recommended somewhere to eat in Glasgow it was a doughnut shop … this time it’s a Korean dessert cafe (I think I sense a theme emerging here). Bing Soul recently opened in the West End of Glasgow and I’d been planning on going since it did, so one sunny day last week my friend B and I paid them a visit to try it out. You’ll find Bing Soul on Dumbarton Road, close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the Partick area of Glasgow’s West End, about 2 minutes walk from Kelvinhall subway station and 10 minutes from Partick train/bus/subway station.
My prediction of needing an early night so I could get up on time in the morning turned out to be spot on. I was up, dressed, breakfasted, had bought my meal deal lunch at Tesco, and made it to the office of the company I’d booked my tour with all before 9:15am!! Talk about a productive morning! I’d pre-booked a tour up the Antrim coast to the Giant’s Causeway online with a company called Allen’s Tours and the bus for the day was absolutely packed full. Our driver Phil was fantastic and told us lots of interesting anecdotes, funny stories, and not-so-funny jokes along the way.
One of the other girls in my dorm room wanted to do a Black Cab Tour to learn more about The Troubles and see another part of the city, so I said I’d go along with her and we could split the cost. Our tour guide and driver picked us up at 10 in the morning and we agreed on a price of £35 between the two of us before setting off to the epicentre of The Troubles, Shankill Road and Falls Road.
The first stop was a mural of William of Orange on lower Shankill (protestant territory). I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many Union flags in my life as I saw here…not sure I liked it as it felt pretty intimidating. We then got back in the taxi and drove along the wall that still divides these two parts of the city (the three sets of gates are closed every night and opened again in the morning) so we could see some of the graffiti and messages people have written there. After walking along a stretch of the wall, we hopped back in the cab again and drove through one set of gates to Falls Road (catholic territory) so we could see some of the peace murals. Unfortunately, we were only able to spend about ten minutes here otherwise we would’ve been charged more, but it was definitely a must-see. The most unsettling thing to me (besides the fact that the two communities are still separated by a giant wall) was that if you walked maybe about a mile and a half away, you’d be back in the city centre with no idea that this kind of thing is still an ongoing issue.
If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know I recently travelled to Northern Ireland for a few days because I found a cheap deal on flights. However, with super cheap flights came the need to get up super early. Like 5:30am early. I caught the bus to Glasgow International Airport from Buchanan Street bus station at 7, which gave me plenty of time to catch my flybe flight at 9:15.
After a very short and smooth flight, I arrived safely in Belfast City Airport just after 10 and then waited to catch my second airport bus of the day into the city centre. By the time I got in, I was craving second breakfast something awful because I’d had first breakfast so early in the morning, so after getting off the bus I stopped in pretty much the first cafe I came across for a cream cheese bagel and a coffee.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had a four days in a row off work coming up, so because this is likely the only holiday I’ll get this summer, I decided to book myself a wee trip to Northern Ireland. One, because it’s very close to Scotland and the flights were relatively cheap given I booked about three weeks beforehand; and two, I’d never been to Northern Ireland before, and after exploring Spain for 9 months I realised how little I’d seen of my own country and its UK neighbours.
So, flights and hostel booked, I set off for a few days exploring a new part of the world, and one of those days featured a coach trip up the Antrim coast to see the Giant’s Causeway. I took far too many pictures there, so I thought I’d post some of the best ones as a little teaser for the travel diaries which are coming up soon.