It’s all so quiet…

I realise that, yet again, I have neglected the blog – I really am awful at providing you all with regular updates on my life. One reason for my sudden quietness though is probably my lack of excitement. Ever since my return from the Highlands life has been nice but quiet. I headed to the Glasgow Mela two weekends ago which was good (but quickly turned into a pub crawl round the West End!) and then finally went to my first BBQ of the summer last weekend for Ricarda’s birthday which was actually a really good afternoon/evening. Apart from that though, I have nothing to report.

I’ve been feeling a little homesick of late. Actually, that’s a bit of a lie as I don’t actually miss home at all (sorry Mum!). I am however missing my friends immensely. While I absolutely love my job and the people I work with, outside of work life is just a bit dull at the moment. To me, only going out socially once or twice in a week is nothing – I’d be out every night if I could and given half the chance, I usually am. Furthermore, after living with friends for the last three years, I’m used to being around people all the time so I didn’t even need to leave the confines on my flat to be social. If truth be told, I don’t like living alone as much as I thought I did. So many people I know on Facebook, twitter etc. are jetting off on holiday, going travelling or heading to festivals etc and enjoying the summer, while at the moment it just feels like I’m stuck up here alone.

Money’s a bit tight at the moment as well so unfortunately I canny go down and visit people etc to fill my time. What with only having so little time left in Glasgow now (66 days to be precise!) I’m also really reluctant to go down to England if it’s not something really special – I feel I should be up here, making the most of Scotland while I can!

Sorry for this massive moan but I promise you, it’s really not all bad. My friend Hannah is hopefully coming to stay this weekend and July is looking like a busy one – I’m potentially down in Manchester, Lancaster and London all in the space of two weeks which is exciting! Won’t be so exciting when I review my bank balance at the end of the month but hey ho, it’ll all be worth it I’m sure ūüôā

Home Bird.

As avid readers will know, this week I am currently back in Nottingham visiting all my friends and family. I’m about half way through my visit now and it’s safe to say that I have had an absolutely excellent time already.¬†This weekend was¬†particularly¬†good as I finally got to spend some quality time with my parents and the rest of my extended family which made a nice change – I rarely get to see my stepsister and her family as they live up in Yorkshire.

I arrived home on Friday evening. The journey was alright but felt extremely long. Unfortunately my train was delayed before I even left Glasgow and by the time I arrived at the train station I’d be travelling for six hours. I have to admit, arriving home was really quite strange. It felt weird and, if I’m being totally honest,¬†initially¬†it didn’t feel like my home any more which upset me a little bit. However, once I’d got used to being back it all felt totally normal again and I was very pleased to find myself back in my beloved home-town!

To celebrate my arrival home, my parents took me out for breakfast on Saturday morning to a local pub before we all headed into Nottingham to get some last minute bits and bobs for my Nephew’s Christening. Even though I didn’t do anything particularly exciting, I had a really nice day just spending some time with my Mum and Brian and getting to see Nottingham city once again. On Saturday evening I also got to catch up with one of my oldest friends from primary school, Lauren. We haven’t had much¬†opportunity¬†to speak recently as we’ve both been so busy with various things so it was great to have a massive catch-up and hear everything that’s been going on in my absence!

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Slap-up Breakfast! 

Sunday morning, me and the ‘rents headed up to Harrogate for my Nephew’s Christening. I had a lovely day¬†catching¬†up with that side of the family and also I finally got to meet Finlay and have a wee cuddle ūüôā About time really I suppose! Overall I had a fantastic first weekend back at home and I have to say the week’s just got better and better as it’s gone on – but more about that in my next post!

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Me and Mother

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Cuddles

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Christening Cupcakes

Visitors and Volunteering.

Last weekend, my best friend Sarah braved the 300 mile journey in the snow to come and stay with me which was just lovely ūüôā I hadn’t seen her since I’d left Nottingham so it was so good to¬†finally¬†be reunited and spend some time together. She arrived on the Saturday afternoon and we spent a nice chilled evening in at my flat, catching-up and cringing at Saturday night television. I even managed to rustle up a rather snazzy meal of fresh lemon pepper salmon fillets, garlic potatoes and carrot – SO PROUD.

After a lazy Sunday morning we decided to brave the cold and venture out into the city centre, so I could give Sarah a quick tour of all the sights. We ended up wandering around the Cathedral and¬†Necropolis¬†before heading to The Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan St so we could warm up with a hot¬†chocolate¬†(and a few cheeky shots of Baileys for myself!). Usually I go to the¬†original¬†tea rooms on Sauchiehall St, so I was not expecting to see the crazy Mackintosh chairs they have there – they have ridiculously high backs so the chair was¬†genuinely¬†taller than me (I’m only 4ft 10 but still!)

002 (2)Willow Tea Rooms

003Sarah next to one of the chairs! 

It was so nice to just have a relaxing weekend for a change and just spend some actual quality time with one of my nearest and dearest and I do have to admit I was rather sad to see her go. Of course, seeing people from home makes me realise just how much I miss everyone and does in a way make me long to go back, although only very¬†temporarily! Luckily though, I’m headed back to Nottingham for nine beautiful days at the beginning of March which I simply cannot wait for – my diary is already starting to look pretty full with various plans which is exciting.

Talking of plans, I’ve realised over the past few weeks that I’m definitely someone who needs to be on the go all the time or, at the very least, trying to juggle a few different projects here and there. At¬†university¬†I juggled academic work with a weekend job, being on the exec of a society and a rather hectic social life. At the moment, I only really have work going on so I feel like I have far too much spare time on my hands. Consequently, I’ve decided to apply for some more volunteering¬†opportunities that I can do after work or on my days off as a way of gaining yet more experience to help with my postgraduate plans. I was fortunate enough to stumble across a great¬†opportunity¬†for a communication support volunteer with the Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Trust which also involves direct training with a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. I’ve been offered an interview but unfortunately I can’t make the date due to work so hopefully we can¬†reschedule¬†and get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. I’m also applying to be a befriender or mentor with the Autism Society as this was something I wanted to do back at home but didn’t get chance to because of me moving up here. I’m considering doing this as an e-bfriender (so over email etc) as I admit I may struggle to fit everything around my shift patterns but hopefully I can still get a good level of¬†involvement¬†in the scheme. ¬†Between all these various things and trying to see as much of Glasgow and Scotland as possible, I have a feeling I’m going to be quite a busy bee over the next few months!

Blue Monday

This Monday I was luckily enough to be reunited (albeit very briefly!) with one of my close friends from home, Emily. She happened to be up here for an interview to volunteer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games so we decided to meet for lunch beforehand and have a good old catch-up.¬†As we were both a bit pushed for time we headed to Yo! Sushi as it’s usually cheaper on a Monday (Blue Monday – hence the title of this post!). Instead of the standard Sushi though we both decided to try the new Ramen dishes on offer – I had Chicken Ramen in a Miso Soup which was really good although not very filling!

Ramen

Reunited ūüôā¬†

It was so good to to see her and have another visitor come and see what life in Glasgow is like, although I wished she could have stayed for a longer so she could see more than just the train¬†station¬†and Buchanan St. Hopefully she’ll be back next summer for a few days training and we can have a proper Glaswegian adventure – fingers crossed the weather will be better by then as well!

I love having visitors, not only because it obviously means that I get to see my nearest and dearest, but also because it reminds me how much I love Glasgow and how much I enjoy having this new home and new life that I’m proud of and want to show off to all my friends and family. As much as I don’t like to blow my own trumpet, I am proud of what I’ve achieved so far by being here and by how much I’ve changed for the better and ¬†it’s great to finally be able to share that with my friends and fam. What’s even better is that I only have to wait until Friday for my next VIP guest ¬†as my friend Nicole is coming to stay for the whole weekend. She’s never ever been to Scotland before (shocking I know!) so I’m especially excited to give her the special guided tour of all the best places and fully¬†introduce¬†her to Scottish life ¬†– oh and to the delights of Iron Bru and Deep Fried Mars bars!

22.

Today was a pretty memorable day – not only did I turn 22 but I also became an auntie (well step-auntie technically) to a beautiful baby nephew!

I’ve had a lovely birthday and was thoroughly blown away by the amount of effort my friends, family and everyone at work made to make my day a special one. Everything started off quietly and I admit I was feeling a little homesick at work this morning as usually I spend my birthdays surrounded by all my friends¬†either¬†at uni or at home (or both!) so spending the day at work, in the house alone, was a bit of a change. However, I really should not have worried as no sooner had everyone gone out on daycare, than I was¬†surprised¬†with a bottle of sparkling wine, a beautiful bunch of flowers and a massive box of chocolates from everyone at work. I got so emotional I started crying, which is rather¬†embarrassing, but I was¬†genuinely¬†so shocked I didn’t know how else to react!

Birthday Flowers!

I also had my six week review today with my manager and the regional CSV manager which went really well (thankfully!) which means that I get to stay in Scotland for the whole year – YAY! So relieved that I get to stay as I’m already rather fond of everyone here and I absolutely love life in Glasgow so that was an excellent bit of birthday news! The regional manager also gave me a birthday card as well, bless him.

After work I was finally free to open all the lovely cards and presents my friends and family sent up – again, I was overwhelmed by the effort they’d all gone to, sending presents all this way. I got some absolutely beautiful things, including a gorgeous dress from my best friend, lots of winter clothes to keep me nice and warm, a bookmark all the way from Korea and some¬†truly¬†excellent DVD’s from my uni friends, full of photos and birthday messages (and dancing!!) It’s safe to say I was thoroughly spoilt -I am definitely one very very lucky girl.

New Birthday Dress ūüôā¬†

This evening the plan was for me and Eujin to go out, just the two of us, for a nice meal at Ingram Wynd which is a beautiful Scottish restaurant in the Merchant City of Glasgow. However, being the absolute sweetheart she is, she surprised me by inviting along a group of the CSV-ers to help me celebrate. Unfortunately a few of them were unable to make it due to work commitments but it was just so nice that she made the effort to plan something that little bit more special for me. I had a great evening and the food was absolutely delicious (as was the wine!)

Ingram Fishcakes with Lemon Mayo & Chilli

Haggis Beef Olive with Black Pudding Mash and Onion Gravy

At Ingram Wynd

All in all I’ve had an excellent day and I am so very grateful to everyone up here in Scotland and all the amazing people back at home etc. who have helped make yet another birthday so special. I have the best friends and family ever and it’s great to know that even being however many hundreds of miles apart nothing really ever changes and it’s also great to know that the new friends I’m making up here are also a pretty fantastic bunch! Definitely feeling the love tonight.

Pre-Birthday Celebrations!

I kicked off my early birthday celebrations this weekend with a visit from one of my favourite people in the world, April. She travelled up all the way from London just to come and see me which was fantastic – it was so good to finally see her and catch up properly, as well as to finally show my friends just how great a city Glasgow is and what life is like up here in Scotland.

Typically the weather yesterday was awful but, once I’d dutifully collected her from the platform at Queen Street Station, we decided to head out for a rather rainy walking tour of Glasgow. We first decided to head slightly east and make our way to the Cathedral and Necropolis. While I ventured to the Cathedral for the first time last week, I’d never made it up to the Necropolis before, so it was great (if not a little creepy) to finally see it for myself. It’s actually pretty damn cool and the views of Glasgow from the top are just amazing.

Stained Glass in the Cathedral

Necropolis

After we’d had a little wander around there, we headed back to the main city centre to the Trongate¬†Gallery. I’ve been here a few times as part of the project ability day care class one of my service users attends but I’ve never had chance to look round properly so it was good to finally see more of the print studio and some of the photography¬†exhibitions.

Posing outside the excellent Mrs.Mitchell’s Sweetieshop on Trongate

Our next port of call was CUP Tea Lounge which not only does gorgeous cupcakes but some amazing cocktails which I’ve been dying to try for ages. We both opted for a Millionaire Shortbread Cocktail which consists of ¬†‘Briottet Caramel shaken with mozart chocolate¬†liqueur shaken hard and served up with finely¬†crumbled toasted biscuits’ – absolute heaven. The place inside is also beautifully decorated and full of big comfy sofas so I would definitely recommend it as one of the best cafes in town.

CUP Tea Lounge

Choc-tails!

For dinner that evening we headed over to the West End and to a wonderful Scottish pub called Oran Mor, which is Gaelic for ‘great melody of life’ or ‘big song’. The pub actually used to be the Kelvinside Parish Church and inside it is beautiful – there was even a jazz band playing which just added to the atmosphere even more. No trip to Scotland would be complete without some haggis, so¬†naturally¬†we just had to have the traditional meal of haggis, neeps and tatties. The food was delicious and really reasonably priced so I’ll definitely be bringing more friends here whenever I get chance.

Food Glorious Food!

Of¬†course¬† no birthday celebration would be complete without some cheeky cocktails so headed down to the brilliantly named Vodka Wodka for a few drinks. I had a spiced pear mojito which was lovely and some kind of raspberry¬†concoction¬†with Jack Daniels that was surprisingly¬†pleasant¬†after a few sips! It was a lovely way to round off what had been a fantastic afternoon/evening in the city ūüôā

Ashton Lane

Cocktail time!

This morning, as it was nice and dry, we decided to walk into town and build up an¬†appetite¬†ready for a good old Scottish breakfast at Wetherspoons before April had to leave and get on the train. I was¬†pleasantly¬†surprised¬†to find that the Wetherspoons up here has a special Scottish section of the menu so I’ll be making many more trips there in the near future!

Scottish Breakfast! 

I was rather sad to put my friend on the train and say goodbye – it felt like she was only just getting to see the real Glasgow and I loved how¬†easily¬†it felt like we were¬†back¬†at uni, like we’d never been apart really. However, I have no doubt that she’ll be up and visiting numerous times over the next year so I know I’ll be seeing her smiling face soon! It was great to finally have one of my close friends come and visit my new house and it was just the boost I needed after a rather stressful week. Tomorrow is my actual birthday so I’m sure they’ll probably be more celebrating (and drinking) then – once work is out the way of course!

I miss…

I miss being a student. I miss the nights out, the randomness, the spontaneity. I miss spending the majority of my overdraft on cocktails and cheap vodka. I miss staying up until 5 in the morning, drinking tea, watching it slowly get light and pouring my heart out, sometimes to people I barely know. I miss that feeling of  just talking about anything and everything  and the closeness that brings. I miss debating serious issues while seriously slurring my speech. I miss my ability to make conversation with anyone and making random new friends in the toilets/at the bar/ in the queue/at a local takeaway. I miss turning Trivial Pursuit into a serious drinking game.I miss pre-drinking in a room decorated with Page 3 girls. I miss the banter with the taxi drivers. I miss walking home in the rain and moaning about how awful the weather is in the North all while holding my chips in one hand and my heels in the other. I miss chasing the poor ducks on campus. I miss waking up next to a box of chicken nuggets. I miss post-night out debriefs and filling in all the blanks the next morning and cringing at all the awful photos. I miss embarrassing myself (and others) with my over-enthusiastic dance moves. I miss pretending to my mum that I stayed relatively sober the night before. Hell, I even miss the hangovers.

God, I cannot actually wait to get out tomorrow night and try and relive all these moments ūüôā

 

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