My Weekend in Bristol!

I’m nineteen now, everyone. Almost at that big two-zero and of course, by this time nobody quite wants to get older. Right now I actually want to skip to my late twenties when I have my life a little more put together but, of course, it can’t be done.

I spent my birthday weekend in Bristol visiting my best friend TrayTray. I think I packed just enough for the trip but maybe overdid it by bringing along the pink bed socks. I love those socks, but it seems they weren’t important enough to remember to bring back afterwards!

On our first day, we went for a scenic walk around, visiting the suspension bridge, and some of the local shops. We got quite lucky with the weather. Although the skies were grey we got a few peeks of sun for a few snaps (I was, of course, the designated photographer) and we got some fantastic shots. For a good group selfie, the little mirror maze in the Royal Fort Gardens is great! For good views, the suspension bridge is a nice place to visit.

There’s a really nice bubble tea and frozen yoghurt place called Flavalanche. We wanted to visit a dessert place during the weekend but that didn’t happen, sadly. At least there is always next time!

I went to a nightclub for the first time, and I was there as the clock ticked over to my birthday. Nightclubs are strange places. I mean, I can see the appeal. It’s losing yourself a little to familiar tunes or just a good house beat, yelling conversation at your friends although you can’t even hear yourself, and pretending to be cool in a forest of people. I didn’t bring my heels, so I am 100% sure I was the shortest person in the club to the point that the guy at the computer picking the tracks kept looking over at me like I was a 12 year old in the wrong place. I did enjoy myself somewhat and really wore myself out, but I don’t think it’s the life for me. Not unless I can find a club near me that can do a K-Pop themed night.

My absolute favourite photo of myself ever!

On our second day, we slept in. Then we got to have a look around the shops. I picked up a green embroidered sweater on sale and baby pink velvety cap which wasn’t on sale but I bought anyway because it was just so cute. This turned out to be a good idea as it got a little chilly in the evening. I think Bristol’s Cabot Circus and general shopping area is bigger than Birmingham’s Bullring and extended city shopping, but Tray seems to disagree! Even if Bullring has a lot of shops I think that in Cabot Circus, all the shops have a lot more space. That’s just my first impressions, however. Birmingham is, after all, the second city of England.

I wonder what it was about the changes to my beauty routine, but I found myself rubbing my nose and feeling up all the clogs in my skin after the weekend was over. It just felt super clogged compared to usual. Perhaps it was the new heavy mask I was trialling, the sheet mask, the sunscreen, my period, or just the fact that I’d worn makeup all day for two days straight where I hadn’t done it in ages, even if I had done my best to cleanse it off my face thoroughly. 

I really enjoyed myself that weekend to the point of struggling to get out of the holiday mood once I got back! I had a fantastic birthday and it was wonderful to spend it out of my home city.

Thank you for reading! Until next time,

X

The Gap Year Diary: November

Well, I am a little late, but without further ado, here’s what I got up to this month!

  • UCAS all done and dusted
  • London Trip
  • NaNoWriMo
  • Progress with languages

UCAS. DONE.

Let’s get the more depressing topic out of the way first. Somehow at the beginning of the month, I mustered the motivation to finish and send off my university application for this year. Once I got down to it, the personal statement took no time at all. I really liked my previous one, so I only replaced two to three paragraphs with more recent things. This time, I also knew to edit more characters out to avoid the copy/paste fail that I had last year – I had exactly 4000 characters but after it was pasted it turned out to be more!

Well, anyway, it’s done. I was warned that it would take longer due to the school prioritising the Y13s of this year, but the notification email from UCAS came in only 11 days later, giving me a real shock. In fact, at the end of November, I had three offers and was just waiting for the last two universities to respond. It’s been some great motivation to just get down to revision (however early it is…)

London!

How many more British cities am I going to visit this year? I went to London by myself in order to see Korean R&B artist Crush in concert, which took place on the 27th in the evening. I stayed over the night as well seeing as the concert was so late. As I booked my train tickets really early, they were non refundable (but hella cheap) and I kind of regret not leaving much leeway for sightseeing – it’s London after all! However, it’s also my first inter-city trip alone so hopefully my parents can’t argue with future trips seeing as this one went well. I did a separate post on my experience at the concert here.


NaNoWriMo

This didn’t go well from the start. For the first week my word count was consistently low and with a renewed focus on my other work I really didn’t think I would have time to catch up. I wonder how I managed to do this last year, considering my school workload!

So, instead of NaNo, I attempted to revise my story plans again, although it seems a spontaneous ‘plantsing’ style is best for me. I like to know where my story is going and a very good idea of what sort of scenes are going where, but getting it all to fit together and flow from one point to another is another story, so to speak.

Progress with languages

I am reaching the end of my Japanese Beginners’ course and I’m really enjoying it. I am wondering whether to continue on in the new year with the Improvers’ course or do a course in something completely different (I am thinking of something musical) and self-teach myself the languages at home. I am currently learning the Korean alphabet too and getting used to reading it, and practicing my Vietnamese by reading some of the Vietnamese manga I bought in Vietnam some years ago and didn’t get around to reading, haha. That makes it three languages at once. That’s… not too much, right? I can do that if I take my time!

That’s all the updates this month – see you in 2017 for the December entry!

X

 

 

Places: Paradice Gelateria, Harbourne High Street

I’ve never done a review of a place before so this is interesting!

One evening, J and Q were discussing a nice place to go eat ice cream when I realised that I, too, also had free time to go try some of this good stuff! So off we went.

Paradice Gelateria on Harbourne High Street is about 10-15 minutes away from Birmingham city centre by bus, using the 22, 23, or 24 routes which all go along this road. The Gelateria is right next to one of the bus stops. It was my first time visiting this area and I saw about ten charity shops just walking along afterwards with Q and J, so I’ve put it on my to-do list to visit again to have a look at all the shops! I really love charity shops.

Anyway, Paradice has really lovely decor with off whites, mint greens and chocolate coloured decor. It’s also well lit without a dark corner in sight, as it has large window-walls on both sides of the shop. There’s a kids play area in the corner if you are bringing little ones, and if you are not, the kids are the only things breaking the quiet vibe there.

It has an extensive menu with a variety of things to eat. Of course the highlight is the gelato, but they also serve it with crepes and waffles, and they also offer other hot desserts and savoury crepes too.

I chose to have a warm Belgian Waffle with mango sauce and a scoop of their Ferrero Rocher ice cream… And it looked amazing. I was a bit worried that mango and chocolate would be a strange combo but honestly the mango sauce adds so much bright colour and is fruity to taste, too. If I were not in public I would have licked the plate clean.

Q chose to have two desserts for lunch, an apple cinnamon tart and some warm cookie dough, whilst J chose to have scoops of gelato – Ferrero Rocher and Cappuchino being her choices. I admit I was tempted by coffee-flavoured ice cream too because I always am, but wanted to try something new.

 

Those chairs! 

 

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Paradice and I’d love to visit again to try the cookie dough, apple tart or fondant – there’s also the selection of gelato to get through too…

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

X

The Gap Year Diary #2: Sept – Oct

Fortunes from Lily @ #BookityBooks

Here’s what I got up to this month-and-a-half!

  • The school squad group chat is quieter these days.
  • #Growingpains tour
  • School-related things
  • Beginner’s Japanese
  • Bookity Books
  • NaNo Prep
  • Trip to Edinburgh
  • Goodbye to the nail salon

Uni things
Towards mid-September I said goodbye to a number of school friends that were heading off to Uni and moving out. I’m hella excited for them! They’re heading off to do a huge variety of exciting things. Although they’re all my motivation for working my butt off this year, most I’ve heard is that things are expensive, and freshers’ week is a blast, and they have lots of cool student discounts, yet things are still expensive. Their workload seems to be increasing at a pretty fast rate, too…

#Growingpains book tour
I went to the #Growingpains tour in Waterstones Birmingham featuring four lovely authors: Laura Dockrill (Lorali), Julie Mayhew (Mother Tongue) , Claire Hennessy (Nothing Tastes As Good) and Jess Vallance (The Yellow Room).
I hadn’t read any of their books but rest assured that they are all on my reading list after hearing them talk a bit about them – they are all funny and lovely people! I also managed to get some great writing advice from Laura Dockrill and Julie Mayhew about the plotting and structure of a story which has inspired me to approach my current project differently. I was suddenly bombarded with ideas, and also did a bit of a horrid thing and cut out a few of my beloved, yet unnecessary, characters to archive them for another story. Thus began my prep for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Exam Scripts
The day after that, I went into school to pay to get my exam scripts back, and pay for the archery club which I still go to. I can’t wait to see what went wrong four months ago, in a gut-dropping, sigh-inducing way. My UCAS application is also well on its way and hopefully should be finished soon. I’m in no rush as the staff from my old school are prioritising this year’s Year 13 and have warned me that they’re not going to put mine first – fair enough, really. I think I have just sighed a hundred times just having to write this paragraph, but it’s something that has to be done.

Japanese Lessons
I signed up for a course in Beginner’s Japanese in September which started last week, as it’s been something I’ve always been interested in doing. Had I gotten into Uni I would have used the module-switching opportunity to do it, but thankfully I found a way to do it anyway. I have previously tried to learn at home but I’ve never had any lessons so my knowledge is random and I can’t string sentences together… There was a beginner’s Plus option but it’s good that I went for basics as the course includes a few things I hadn’t covered in my self-learning and it’ll help me to reinforce the things I do know. I am also using the lesson structure to go over my Vietnamese as well.

Bookity Books
In my first write-in session at #BookityBooks (as opposed to the ones where we just talk about books), we did a couple of word wars and I got stickers (always fun), a fortune cookie (always fun) and won a prize (YEAH. GO ME.)
I had decided not to bring my laptop and wrote by hand for my word wars, which I didn’t have much high hopes about because I know I’m a really slow writer. It turns out that I’m actually pretty fast under pressure – I did 300 words exactly in fifteen minutes, which is about a side and a half of stretched out handwriting on A4. In the ten minute war, I almost matched that with 248 words.
There’s hope for my Psych essays this year, everybody! Even if the average word size in my essays is larger!

NaNo Prep
NaNoWriMo is coming up, so I was very good about planning and did it all in a two-day sitting. By planning, I mean I summarised ideas for scenes that I’d like to write and made sure there were loads just in case I got stuck and wanted to move on. It’s a pretty long list. We did a bit of criticising at the month-end session at #BookityBooks so I had the other members (and by that I mean just Maddie) look at my intro. My issue is that descriptive paragraphs sound fine in my first-person POV style but not in my third person because it sounds less personal and just too much. So now I am trying to strike up a conversational tone in third person that should hopefully be easier to read through.

The Spontaneous Trip Up North
Coming into the second half of the month, my Dad invited me to go up to Edinburgh with him for a couple of nights. I was a little worried about it at first, but decided to be positive about the idea and went along. My family and I have never been to Scotland at all before as it’s a bit of a long drive – estimated at about 5.5 hours but that ended up being longer due to weather, construction work and general traffic.

Anyway, Edinburgh and Glasgow (where I went on our second day) are really lovely cities that I’d love to visit again to explore better. All the buildings in the city centres have a charm to them that’s unique to their cities and not like my home Brum at all. I mostly had to tag around with my Dad on this trip, but I want to come back and visit Edinburgh Zoo and all the museums I spotted on our drives around the city. We visited the seafront in the early morning when it was still chilly, but it was still really nice – I love a nice quiet beach. If you are visiting, I recommend the Mussel Inn in Edinburgh as a restaurant to eat at in the evening, although be sure to book a table first!

We also dropped by Newcastle to visit one of Dad’s acquaintances on the way back. That makes three cities in three days!

 The Nail Salon
As we go into November, my parents have sold their nail salon to focus on their new business ventures full-time, and I have to say that it was sudden and that I’m not quite ready. I had no idea that earlier this year I’d be walking into the place for the last time. The place is virtually the same, just that it will have different people working there from now on. I liked the neighbourhood it was in and the familiar local faces – faces that probably assumed I was a local too. My parents ran it for over a decade, which is over half of my life so I do feel a bit of a sad pang knowing that I’ll probably never go back.

That’s what I’ve been up to this month! Next time, you’ll probably be hearing a bit about NaNo, UCAS and my progress in languages.

Until then!

X