Charity Shop Chic.

As some of you may know, alongside my role as a full-time CSV, I also volunteer once a week at the new Red Cross Charity shop on Byres Road in the West End of Glasgow. I absolutely love being back in a charity shop and, dare I say it, back in retail once more. Although I moaned about it a lot (especially when I spent most of my summer holidays stuck on the shopfloor being moaned at by irate customers), I am essentially a people person and I d enjoy having a wee blether with the nice customers that come up to my till.

Anyway, the other evening our shop held a special late-night shopping event complete with cupcakes, cava, competitions and some excellent new stock straight from the high street. The Red Cross is lucky enough to receive left-over stock etc. straight from the factories of several high street brands – unfortunately I’m not a liberty to say which but they are good ones, I promise!  As I’d been at work all day I was unable to actually help out on the evening but I did make sure to pop down so I could grab myself a wee bargain.

The evening itself was great – the shop was really busy and staff were constantly having to put out new stock to fill the ever increasing gaps in the rails. It was also good to have a chat and catch-up with a few of the other volunteers that I don’t get to see as regularly so that was nice. Plus I got myself a gorgeous new jumper for only £8 which is always a bonus! I also had an armful of dresses which I tried on but thankfully none of them were quite right, otherwise it would have been a very dangerous trip.

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Nibbles!

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The Shop

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New Jumper

Fingers crossed now this night has been such a success they’ll be a few more similar events to come. I might volunteer next time though, just to try and save my bank balance a bit more!

The Halfway Point.

Tomorrow marks the sixth month anniversary of me moving to Glasgow. Honestly, I really cannot believe that I am now over half-way through my placement – I’ll actually be leaving at the end of August, instead of mid-September as originally planned, as my postgraduate course starts on Monday 9th September (less than six months now!) This means I have five and a half months left here, which is actually quite a scary thought.

The past month has been very up and down. The highs have been just fantastic – I have a great weekend in Lancaster catching up with old friends and then an even better week in Nottingham with all my nearest and dearest. Equally though, I admit I’ve spent the majority of the last  month feeling quite lonely in a way and wishing that I could just be in London already. I’ve struggled a lot since Eujin and Rosie left and I think recently it’s finally dawned me just h0w far away all of my close friends live and how much I need at least some of them to be that bit nearer.

However, going home was actually a really positive step for me. Admittedly, there was a big part of me was simply dreading getting back on that train and I was really quite upset for a wee while. Once I got back to Glasgow though and saw everyone at work and such forth, it wasn’t long before I started to feel a lot better. Having a change in scenery was just what I needed and I’ve come back feeling refreshed and determined to make the most of my remaining time in Glasgow. I know I say this every month but here is so much I need to see in both the city and the country as a whole and I finally feel like now is the time to make good on that promise and finally do it.

I’ve decided to start small and work on seeing some of Glasgow’s most famous attractions initially before I go travelling off throughout bonny Scotland. I have a 3 day weekend so my plan is to finally head to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which is apparently Glasgow’s most popular free attraction and then maybe spent some time in the West End window-shopping and eating cake (perfect Saturday!). Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day and the plan is to spend all day in Waxy O’Connor’s, an Irish pub in the city centre. There’s going to be live music and DJs and plenty of alcohol so I think it should be a pretty good day! In between nursing my hangover on Monday, I’ll also be volunteering at the Red Cross shop on Byres Road again. I’ve done about four proper shifts so far which I’ve enjoyed a lot, plus I get 20% staff discount and first pick on all new donations. I managed to get an Urban Outfitters cardigan which should have cost about £40 for only £3.60 when I was on shift yesterday – absolute bargain!

Looking further ahead I have no real plans beyond this weekend, except for my friend Hannah hopefully coming to visit in mid-April. I haven’t seen her since before Christmas so I’m already extremely excited to see her again and show her all that Glasgae has to offer. However I’m sure that between now and then a lot will probably happen, as it always does with me!

The Fifth Month.

I have now been in Glasgow for exactly five months – yay! This month has in many ways been a weird one. There have been a lot of changes, most notably the fact that both Eujin and Rosie have now left. It’s really strange not having either of them about and I have to admit, I’m missing both of them loads – things just don’t quite feel the same up here any more and if I’m being totally honest, I’m just not really enjoying myself as much at the moment. Equally, while finding out I’d been accepted onto a postgraduate course at City University in London was undoubtedly the biggest high of the month (if not the whole year!), it’s really affected the way I’m viewing my placement. At first, it was a relief that I’d been accepted as it meant I could just massively throw myself into life in Scotland as a whole, without having to worry about the future. However, the more I research the course and flats and London life, the more I just want to be there now and I find myself sometimes wishing the next six months away which, of course, I know I shouldn’t do –  I can’t seem to help myself that the minute though!

I think the main problem is that I’m a bit bored of Glasgow now. While there’s still so much for me to see and do, in the city and beyond, I’m starting to get a wee bit fed-up. I’m really really missing home at the moment and especially spending time with all my friends, both back in Nottingham and the Lancaster lot. Thankfully, I’m heading to Lancaster next Friday (SO EXCITED!) and then I have a ten-day holiday on the 1st March when I’m finally getting to head home. I actually can’t wait and I’m hoping it’ll do me the world of good and I can come back to Glasgow all refreshed and with a much more positive attitude. However, I am slightly concerned that I just won’t want to head back to Scotland at all but, fingers crossed, it won’t get quite that bad – my mum will force me on the train anyway whether I want to go or not!

In other news, last week I started volunteering at a new charity shop on Byres Road, in the West End of the city. I happened to see that they needed volunteers and, having previously worked in retail for five years and having volunteered in an Oxfam shop, I decided to give it a go – it’ll help keep me busy and I’ll get to meet some new people hopefully. Unfortunately, I never did hear back from the Communication Support Volunteer role I mentioned in a previous post but not to worry, I’m sure this will be good in a different way!

Also, yesterday I attended a special CSV workshop in Edinburgh which was actually really good. Obviously, I never pass up the chance for a free trip to my favourite city and I had a great day. I got to meet some of the new CSV volunteers who have just arrived in Scotland, as well as meeting a few others that I haven’t had chance to see previously because they are based up in Edinburgh. All the newbies seem really nice, if not maybe a little shy at the moment, but I’m hoping that with time (and alcohol) that will pass and we can arrange some more frequent meet-ups.

007Beautiful Sunny Day in Edinburgh

The month ahead looks great, mainly because I’ll spend most of it either at home or at Lancaster (which is practically my second home!). There’s a lot of good stuff planned – it’s my Nephew’s Christening at the beginning of March and Mother’s Day as well so I’ll get to spend lots of quality time with my family which is always good really. Plus I have lots of trips and meals out with my friends planned as well as a few cheeky nights out in Lancaster for me to look forward to – now all I have to do is put some plans in place for Glasgow and I’ll be laughing!

Me, Myself and I.

Yesterday I decided that it was finally time to spoilt myself a bit, be pampered and indulge in some much-needed retail therapy. My day of treats started brilliantly with a lovely 30 minute Swedish Massage at The Residence, Park Circus which is a nice wee spa in the West End of Glasgow. The best part of this, apart from the luxury of being pampered, was that it was actually complimentary – I found an offer in a free local magazine (i-on), filled in my details and ta-da! I can never usually be bothered with such things but, being slightly poorer nowadays, I decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did! I’ve never actually had a massage before but by the end of it I was feeling so relaxed it was untrue.

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The Residence

After my massage I decided to have a mosey round the West End, do some window shopping and grab a wee bit to eat. I ended up in ‘Little Italy’, which is a small place on Byres Road. Although fairly basic, the food was nice (I indulged in a focaccia to remind me of my trip to Italy) and the opportunities for people-watching were ample – always a fun way to pass a quick half hour or so!

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Parma Ham, Tomato and Mozzarella Focaccia

Unbelievably I still had some gift vouchers from Christmas to spend so my next port of call was Buchanan St. to treat myself to a new outfit (or two) for my upcoming trip to Lancaster. I managed to get a gorgeous grey dress in the Miss Selfridge Sale for only £20 (I only paid £10 myself because of my vouchers, bargain!) and a nice black and white number from H&M – I’m sure you’ll all see pictures in future posts!

All in all, I had a really good day. It’s been a while since I’ve actually taken the time to have a day purely to myself and just spend some time on my own wandering around and taking in the city and I really enjoyed having that “me time” again. Also it has been far too long since I’ve treated myself to some new clothes and things and that always puts the smile on my face – definitely the best way to celebrate my recent good news!