REFLECTING ON 2017: MY TOP 10 HIGHLIGHTS

Well hello there! Remember me? I did say I was going to be very bad at blogging this semester, but I’ve come out of my Masters-hibernation to write this reflection because I absolutely love reading other bloggers’ posts about their yearly highlights, and I really enjoyed writing one last year for 2016, which you can read here.

2017 has been one hell of a year, starting out living in the southern hemisphere all the way in Australia, and ending it back home in Manchester. It was hard to narrow down the list to just 10 favourite moments and I could have rambled on forever about each and every one, but somehow I managed it, so sit back and enjoy my brief highlights from 2017 before we welcome in the New Year.

Getting onto/Starting my Masters degree
Both of these go hand in hand really, as getting onto the course in the first place was such a big achievement for me. I’m one of 18 who got accepted onto it and couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of people to be suffering doing it with. It’s a really intense and difficult course and everyone is so supportive of each other and we’ve all become super close (I guess mutual stress and pain brings people together???). I don’t think I’ve ever said on the blog what my course actually is, just that I’m doing one and that it’s the most stressful thing I’ve ever experienced… Either way my MSc is in (take a breath) Neuroimaging for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience.

Au pairing
I wrote a post a few months ago about au pairing, and it is definitely one of my top highlights of 2017. I grew a lot as a person over those seven months, and it taught me that I can actually be a responsible adult when needed, and I’m capable of much more than I thought. Not only that, but I became so attached to Poppy and can’t imagine my Australian adventure without her.

Road trip through the outback
14 hours… 14 hours we drove from Orange to Adelaide, and was it worth it? Hell to the yeah it was worth it! I saw my first wild kangaroo, took pit stops in some proper rural towns, and got to visit my friend Toby in Mildura while he was completing his farm work. I also got photos at the NSW-Victoria, Victoria-South Australia, and South Australia-NSW borders which were such tourist moments but hey, it’s what I was there for.

Adelaide Fringe Festival
The Garden of Unearthly Delights was undoubtedly one of the most, dare I say it, instagrammable places I’ve ever been to. It was an incredible display of weird and wonderful lights and decorations, and pop-up bars and stalls had been derived from all sorts of things such as buses (yes, buses) and big-top tents.

Melbourne trip
Ah, Melbourne. Although Sydney was the place I called home, Melbourne is the city that holds my heart. Back in April I took a week-long holiday there and stayed with my Aussie friend, Issy. She took me to an AFL game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which I enjoyed a lot more than I expected, introduced me to a cafe dedicated entirely to bagels, and we road tripped along the Great Ocean Road. Her family were nothing but kind to me throughout my stay, and I’m so grateful for their hospitality that week. My friend Josh also took me on a tour of the city that included Hosier Lane, which was so cool, and I reunited with some friends I met in Sydney that I hadn’t seen in a while. At a time where I had been quite homesick this trip really cheered me up because, where Sydney is more like London, Melbourne is basically Manchester but with better food and better weather.

Boomtown
In August I experienced my first proper festival, and what an insane 5 days it was. Everyone I spoke to whilst there mentioned that I had picked an intense festival to start with, and, well, they weren’t wrong. Boomtown Fair is basically another city in itself, with different sectors and districts divided into Uptown and Downtown. Each year provides another chapter of its ongoing story, and there are actors all around the site playing out theatrical roles that make you feel like you’re actually living in this spectacular, made-up world. Another highlight from it was that I got to see Skindred live, who I’ve been a fan of since I was 15, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Glasgow Pride
During our annual visit to see the fam, Mum and I went to Glasgow Pride in the city centre, and it was nothing short of fabulous. Whether you were in the parade itself or just a spectator like we were, the whole day had a great atmosphere to it and I know we’ll be doing it all again next year.

Getting a job
After getting onto my MSc, my biggest worry was how I was going to fund my living expenses for the year, as my tuition fees take up my whole postgraduate loan. At the end of August though I got offered a part time job working for my University and I absolutely love it. Although working 20 hours a week alongside a full-time Masters is bloody stressful, I’ve never had a day where I’ve woken up dreading going to work, and I know that if I survive the next two semesters doing both then I’ll be a stronger person with a crackin’ CV.

Getting a car
I’m so in love with my Mini and extremely grateful for it. It’s improved my social life so much because I can just drive round to friends’ house without having to worry about walking around Fallowfield alone at night, and because I don’t drink I can drive to our local pub to hang out with my fave surf pals when they make last minute plans.

Tenerife and falling in love with surfing again
Although I vowed that I would never spend another Christmas in the sun, this year I spent it in Tenerife with my Mum. I’m so glad I went, not only because it was a nice break from the freezing cold English weather, but also because as part of my Christmas my Mum paid for me to do a surf school while we were there. I started surfing two years now but since the UMSC 2016 trip to Fuerteventura I’ve only been doing it every so often. Even in Australia I only surfed a couple of times, so I’ve not really improved much since I started. I also get quite anxious before getting in the water because my upper-body strength is basically non-existent and I always fall behind the group when trying to paddle out. Cue Tenerife and Kontraola Surf School! I spent the majority of my holiday in the water with the most amazing and supportive instructors who will always hold a special place in my heart. Surprisingly I was fine with paddling out back and over those two weeks I improved so much, with Miguel and Victoria teaching me how to turn properly and almost cutback (read: try to cutback but wipe out on rocks). I injured myself a lot over the week but hey, no pain no gain, right? I feel like I really needed that trip to make me fall in love with surfing again and get my confidence back up in the water, and now I’m sure as hell ready for Portugal in April with UMSC.

 

So there you have it, my top 10 highlights of 2017! I understand it’s quite a lengthy list, especially the last highlight, but amongst all the negative things that might have happened throughout the year it’s important to focus more attention on the good, and to continue doing so in 2018.

 

Until next year!

Liv

xo

EXPLORING MELBOURNE: THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

When I was planning my trip to Melbourne, I didn’t think I’d get the chance to do the Great Ocean Road, considering I didn’t have a car and didn’t want to rent one and do the trip all on my own. Cue Issy asking if I wanted to drive it with her. Of course I said yes! The road itself stretches along 243km of Australia’s south east coast from Torquay to Allansford, and was built by soldiers returning from World War 1.

Although the majority of the day was spent with an overcast sky, the views along the coast were so beautiful that the weather didn’t dampen our spirits.

GOR .GOR2GOR1
There was no way I was going to embark on this road trip and not stop off to get a picture at its famous memorial arch. Every person I know who has done the Great Ocean Road has taken the same photo, but hey, I’m a sucker for cliches.

GOR signGOR memorial
Along the way we stopped off at Urquharts Bluff, a beach hidden from view off the main road. Seen as we were the only ones around it was nice to just take a minute and bask in the peace and quiet away from the city, and the sun even made an appearance for the brief time we were down there.

GOR3GOR BEACH 2GOR beachGOR4
As Issy had to work that evening and we had set off quite late in the day we only made it as far as Lorne before heading back to the city, but not before stopping off at a pub on the main street for an early dinner. If we were doing this trip over a couple of days, which I would definitely recommend, I would like to have gone for a surf in Lorne, but instead we just settled for watching an ongoing lesson from the warm, dry confines of the pub.

Ideally I wanted to go as far as the 12 Apostles, which is around a 3 hour drive from Torquay, but I’ll just have to make that a priority for the next time I visit. Although a plus side of heading home early? RAINBOW ICE CREAM!

melbs ice cream 4
melbs ice cream 2.JPG

Until next time,
Liv
xo

 

BREAKFAST AT HUFF BAGELRY, MELBOURNE

One thing I could eat every day for the rest of my life? Bagels. I went through an obsession in my second year of uni where that’s all I would eat, so imagine my excitement when Issy took me to a cafe dedicated entirely to bagels in Carnegie, Melbourne. Her Mum brought some home every morning for our breakfast which was super nice, and although I’m a picky eater and usually stick to plain or wholemeal, the onion and poppyseed bagels were my absolute favourite.


It wasn’t until my penultimate day in Melbourne that we actually sat in to eat. At first I thought, ‘how many bagels could there possibly be?’ and ‘will they only do bagels on their own? Or will there be proper breakfast meals with them?’. As we walked in the queue was already huge and there were no free tables in sight, but it didn’t take too long for a space to become available for us. I was spoiled for choice with the menu, ranging from sesame to blueberry and choc-chip bagels (I didn’t even know the latter two were a thing), alongside classic breakfast meals such as scrambled egg, a tuna melt, and a ‘Summer Brekky Bagel’.


Although the onion and poppyseed had been my favourite all week, I opted for the scrambled egg with a sesame seed bagel and an English breakfast tea (spot the Pommie). Even though I went with a simple option, it was still bloody delicious and kept me full for hours thereafter.


I was so sad to leave Huff Bagelry behind, so I’m hoping there’s a bagel cafe somewhere in Manchester that I’m yet to discover or someone gets the bright idea to open one themselves asap.

Until next time,
Liv

xo

EXPLORING MELBOURNE: HOSIER LANE

Hello hello! Now that I’ve got wifi back I can share with you all my little adventure to Melbourne a few weeks ago. I had heard countless times that Melbourne is way better than Sydney and that once I go I’ll ask myself why I stayed in the latter for so long. Now that I’ve actually been there I can say that this is 100% true. I really don’t know why it took me eight months to go visit the place, it stole my heart in so many ways and I wish I could have stayed there longer. This is the first in a series of Melbourne posts so I really hope you guys enjoy reading about what I got up to.

One of the main things Melbourne is known for is its crazy street art, so of course I was going to visit its most famous street and see it all for myself. Hosier Lane is just a short walk from Flinders Street station and Federation Square, and is lined with the most spectacular pieces of graffiti. Street art is widely celebrated here, which was refreshing to see, and the pieces of art were insanely good, making a once-normal laneway into an outdoor exhibition.

Just off Hosier Lane is Rutledge Lane, where not only are the buildings covered in graffiti, but also the wheelie bins that line the walls. Of course there were a ton of tourists (including Josh and I) walking along and taking photos, but it wasn’t so busy that I couldn’t stop to take some of my own and appreciate just how wonderful my surroundings were.


It was so nice to see graffiti art be appreciated as actual art, rather than just vandalism that makes a place look scruffy (which was most definitely not the case), and if you’re looking for things to do while you’re in Melbourne then Hosier Lane should be at the top of your list.

Until next time,

Liv

xo