re: Nottingham

Taking a tour around my own city.

As much as I love reminiscing about my travels in Asia, let me introduce the city I’ve been living in for the past two and a half years to my blog. A friend from Hong Kong recently came to visit for the day, giving me the perfect opportunity to revisit some old sights, share new favourites and also try something new.

A newly discovered favourite, for years I had mistaken Ye Olde Tripe To Jerusalem for a regular pub. Walking inside, however, you’ll be surprised (spoiler alert) at its quaint interiors, having been built into the rocks under Nottingham Castle. My first visit involved cramming into a cosy alcove, making for quite a primitive experience as we ate lunch surrounded by the uneven graffiti covered rocks that made up its walls. It does get incredibly busy here, but on my second visit (~11:30, weekday) it was decidedly quiet and we easily managed to secure a table, eavesdropping on the tour group that had assembled next to us.

After a satisfyingly filling lunch, what better than a short walk to Nottingham Castle? It’s a lovely vantage point from which to view the city, although apart from getting excited at seeing the clock tower of University Park’s Trent Building, the view is nothing truly spectacular. Alongside permanent displays in the castle museum, there are also changing rosters of exhibitions to discover – that we easily spent a couple of hours going through.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side as we arrived at Wollaton Park, suddenly turning gloomy and overcast. We took refuge inside the mansion (known locally as Batman’s crib) and buried ourselves in its history, as told through a new exhibition of delicate paper cut outs that sprang from the pages of open books. There’s also an incredible collection of taxidermy animals within these rooms, although some displays can benefit from better lighting options to be able to appreciate the craftsmanship of this archaic form of perseveration.

I’m still waiting for snow to appear in Nottingham, so I can only say that the best weather conditions in which to walk the grounds of Wollaton Park is sunny and hot. There should be more deer roaming about (we only caught a sad glimpse at a far-away herd) and the sunshine brings out the best in Wollaton Hall’s intricate features. This condition also applies to visiting the University of Nottingham’s main campus, University Park. It’s pretty much what convinced me to apply and boats are also available to rent in the summer, making for that quintessential UoN experience.

We ended our evening with a new venture, Sexy Mama Love Spaghetti. An undeniably eye-catching name crudely scrawled across its exterior, it might be somewhere you’d quickly walk past on any normal occasion. But having heard great reviews, we decided to see for ourselves. The restaurant itself is a tiny squeeze, even for a small person like me, but the food was delicious! Ordering the king scallop linguine was the best decision made that night, it was cooked so perfectly. We both felt the risotto Milanese was lacklustre and the portions were slightly on the small side, but the staff and general atmosphere of the restaurant were lovely.

~

re: ferences

re: Merry Christmas!

Deck the halls with boughs of holly fa-la-la-la…

For most people, the month of December indicates a slew of festivities and a brief respite from the world of work. For myself and most other students, December is a frightening month full of coursework deadlines, exams and revision. Complimenting 2016’s gifts, this year I also have the pressure of applying for jobs, to secure some sort of stable future after I graduate. Quite a stressful way to spend the holidays, but alas, the things we must do.

In any case, I’d like to take the time to thank everyone who reads/follows this blog! Whether you celebrate it or not, hope everyone has a great Christmas break. Take the time to relax for a moment and enjoy the luxury of just doing nothing before scaling the mountain of work again. My housemates and I celebrated with our own little Christmas dinner about a week ago, so it feels a little strange to be doing it again with my family, but I’m excited to return home and have one guiltless day of eating food and watching movies!

re: coming home

Back for Good (maybe).

I’m back! After about a month of constant travel, I returned to the UK on the 23rd June – just in time for the EU referendum and what lovely news to be welcomed back with the next morning *tears falling as I fall down in a slow circle and die*. The words of Take That might echo the thoughts of Leave voters this past week with my friend Grace suggesting that Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ should replace the United Kingdom’s National Anthem. Anyone else care to contribute to our EU fallout party playlist?

~

IMG_3460.JPG

2016 is proving to be a dismal year, so to brighten things up, I’ll refrain from lamenting on things I’ll miss from my exchange and look towards some home comforts that I’m glad to return to:

  • Personal space! Whilst Hong Kong is a city over spilling with vibrancy, one thing I won’t miss is constantly sharing space. Nothing beats having your own room, infrequent violations of one’s personal public bubble, or even taking your time with a meal without being shooed away for the next customer.
  • Me-time! As selfish as this sounds, travelling around with a group of friends really makes you cherish your time alone. It’s absolutely wonderful to explore different countries with close friends or develop new friendships, but it can also be exhausting being around people 24/7 (hello hostels). It’s nice to have some down time once in a while, reconsolidate your thoughts and just soak in being in a different country, rather than focusing on the next place to see or activity to do.
  • Sleep! For a pretty active person, I do love my sleep! Sure, if you have three months or more travel time, you can afford to sleep in now and again. If not, travelling usually means early mornings and late nights, which can also be a mood killer. (I get the sleep equivalent of ‘hangry’ if deprived of my slumber.)
  • Sensible currency! One crazily inflated currency is hard to get your head around, so try three in the space of a month. If you’re too lazy to pull out your phone before every transaction, mental arithmetic is necessary to convert back into GPB, but at least this cognitive effort is rewarded by pleasantly cheap prices. (Unless it’s Japan. Everything is expensive in Japan). Being back means not getting confused at the amount of zeros in the price, triple checking the notes I’m handing over and worrying about being stuck with useless coins!

It’s easy to romanticise this past year – certainly the best one of my life so far. However, the reality of returning will be an entirely different experience as I remind myself that studying abroad and working abroad are not the same thing! Separate posts will up in due course for all the places I visited, but for now I’m basking in the fleeting novelty of being back at home and in blissful ignorance of my unpacked suitcase.