The Moon has a strange look tonight…

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Last night was the rare occurrence of a super blood moon. Sadly, and typically, at the prime viewing time the sky was too cloudy to see anything. Happily beforehand I managed to tinker about with my camera and get a few good shots of the moon, this being my favourite.

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Trip to Brighton

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A few photos from back in July when my dad took me to Brighton as a birthday day trip!

The Royal Pavilion and Art Gallery – The gardens were beautiful and blooming with flowers. Apparently by law the grass must be kept relatively long, so the royalty who would stay here could comfortably walk on the grass. Seriously.059  057 056

The streets are colourful and quirky – the shops are mostly independent and sell some great items, from vintage to locally handmade. 051

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The pier is a perfect example of why the British seaside is great: fairground rides, an arcade, and selling the great classic fish and chips!080 081 092 094 078

Brighton is friendly, vibrant, and laid back – a great retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life!

Wandering around Manchester

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I booked a last minute train journey to Manchester, as my sister and her boyfriend had a spare ticket to see a brass band play. Why the hell not.

The next day I had the afternoon to myself. I’m currently in the middle of a photography course, so I was keen to get to grips with the functions of my camera (after all, I have had it for nearly a year…), so I wandered around the city taking shots of sights that attracted me. I’m growing to really like Manchester – to me it’s kinda hipster, but in a non-pretentious way, which as someone with hipster tendencies but doesn’t take myself too seriously, I appreciate.

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Whilst I was relaxing in Piccadilly Gardens two things happened – the first was that the pigeons went crazy and everyone ducked for cover. I was texting at the time but managed to take some shots one-handed.

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Second, there was a legalise marijuana mini demo happening. They had a big fake joint on display, which was revealed to be hiding a cannabis plant. I’m all open for the debate of legalising marijuana, but I have to admit it needs more well-thought, fact-based arguments then what I witnessed…

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Finally, my sister recommended the Manchester Art Gallery, which I managed to look around just before it closed for the day.

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That look you pull when the creep is hitting on you in the club…

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So yes, Manchester is a vibrant and exciting city. There always seems to be things to do, places to visit etc, which is a similar quality to London and you can’t go wrong with a city that leaves you spoilt for choice. The people there are also really friendly, and as a university city it is great for young people and also for finding cheap offers. So if you don’t mind the rain (well it is Britain after all), it’s worth a visit!

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Men in the Media Who are Awesome Feminists

There are a lot of discussions when it comes to men and feminism. Can men be feminists? (Erm, yes, ofc). Are they not intimidated by the word feminism? Why not use the term gender equality? (Personally I think it’s daft to get so hung up by the name, feminism = gender equality, simple as that). All that jazz.

Anyways, there are some men in popular culture who I think deserve recognition of their contribution to feminism, simply by creating some bad ass female characters.

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Joss Whedon

From his mind came the wonderful creations of Buffy, Firefly, and more. And in his creations he has written some great female roles – women who can look after themselves, who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerable side, and are never silly damsels in distress. I got addicted to Firefly recently, and I was impressed by the variety of women characters and their personalities: strong, caring, genius etc. Whedon is a self-proclaimed feminist, and this makes his shows and films worth watching. That and the good story lines.

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Stieg Larsson

The unfortunately deceased creator of the Millennium Trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc). This trilogy is, to summarise, amazing- and this is partly thanks to the fascinating female characters, in particular the unapologetically unique protagonist Lisbeth Salander. The other female characters too are always smart, intuitive, and able to protect themselves. The trilogy itself is a fascinating and horrifying insight into the abuse of women, the first novel’s original Swedish title after all is Men Who Hate Women, which haunted Larsson since he apparently witnessed the gang rape of a girl. Salander in turn is an enthralling anti-hero, and you can’t help but admire her slightly scary no-nonsense attitude.

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Pedro Almodovar

A great Spanish filmmaker whose characters are always flawed, but human. His film Volver focuses on a group of women in a small community who know how to support themselves, and each other in the face of hardships. Almodovar shows skill in not creating characters who are two dimensional, or stereotypical, and his complete variety of genres means he has created female characters for all situations.

London Life on a Budget

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I lived in and out of London for the best part of three years during my university studies, and whilst I came to call it my home, it can still be the daunting giant every non-Londoner views it as. Whilst I learnt to navigate the underground, roll my eyes at slow walking tourists and now I pay £4 for a pint without flinching; I still would get lost on unknown streets, and on occasion even on Oxford Street.

But one of the best things about surviving London is knowing how to not blow your budget. It’s not one of the most expensive cities in the world for nothing, and living on a small income as a student or otherwise means you learn to be a little savvy. I hope to return to London on a decent salary so I can enjoy the finer things it has to offer, but London can still be made the most of on the cheap.

Parks

London is not known for it’s glorious natural scenery, but more for being smokey. However it has plenty of beautiful parks to hang out in: from Hydes Park to Regents Park, Primrose Hill to Greenwich. And it doesn’t cost you a penny to hang out in. Summer days in London are relaxing and fab.

Hair Academies

Always good to do your research to find the best one, but having your hair cut by a trainee is a great way to save money, and the results are always good. I used to go to the Toni & Guy Academy on Oxford Street, and it would only cost £5. It would take up all of your afternoon, but the people there are very friendly and you feel a little like you’re with a stylist. I once was even given free sweets. Win.

Museums and Art Galleries

A lot of these are free, and it’s London so you have some of the best the world has to offer. Plus the smaller ones, so you can be a hipster and be to places other people haven’t. So you can either look at amazing pieces throughout history and cultures at The British Museum, or nosey at The Sherlock Holmes Museum. Awesome, right?

Off West End Theatre

The West End offers some of the most spectacular plays and musicals, there are many more theatres all across London giving their own twists on classics, or debuting their own creations. It’s a much cheaper way to watch culture live, and its fun to expect either a top notch performance or a bizarre experience.

The Globe Theatre

Staying with the theatre, one way to watch an amazing production of Shakespeare plays is at The Globe Theatre, in which you can pay for a £5 groundling ticket. You have to stand, but you get an authentic experience of watching a Shakespeare play from his era, and the unexpected occurrences of an open roof theatre only adds to the fun.

Find the Best Discounts

If you have a rail card, chances are you can use that discount when paying for public transport on your Oyster Card. My Young Person’s Railcard allows me to travel in London with a 1/3 off the usual price. Plenty of websites also offer discounts for various things, so it’s always good to keep your eye out.

Beautiful Literary Quotes

Everybody likes quotes. They are constantly posted on social media, and those (allegedly) by Marilyn Monroe seem to be the most popular. Inspirational things to never give up, that no one understands your pain, or that you don’t need no man. But to me, some of the best quotes for life come from my bookshelf.

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This novel by Fitzgerald I found moving because he wrote it when his own wife was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the novel’s plot focuses on the relationship between a doctor and his schizophrenic wife, and the doctor’s gradual fall from grace. The quote serves as a reminder that whilst relationships and friendships will constantly change throughout life, we are still the same people at the core.

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I have just finished the novel, after seeing the film adaption a while ago and falling in love with it. There are so many great quotes from this novel in regards to life, rebirth, and fate, but I adore this one in particular because it is what made the film make sense to me. Another quote from the novel which adds to this is Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. In a naturally selfish world, it serves as a reminder that we are nothing without others.

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Nothing like a sweet bit of childhood nostalgia, from the lovable Winnie-the-Pooh. It is funny as you get older you realise that childhood stories were not just entertaining nonsense, but sometimes offer great words of wisdom. And A.A. Milne seems to create some wonderful ones about friendship and more. (On a side note- Eeyore was always my favourite character, the miserable old bugger)

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It seems I can rarely make a post without mentioning Kerouac. But this quote, and possibly his most famous, is one that truly captures the spirit of the Beat Generation. And why not desire friendships with fascinating, crazy people who are hungry to experience life? They are what make life worth living really.

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I did enjoy Love in the Time of Cholera, although I have my disagreements with the ending (but that’s a rant not for this post). I also hope to one day have mastered speaking Spanish enough to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his native language. Anyways, this is the perfect quote to live relationships with as little regret as possible. Better to live rather than wonder what if, always.

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And finally, a favourite quote from my fellow Yorkshire lass, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. The story of Cathy and Heathcliff is hardly a love story to aspire to, their love is viewed as possessive, and even demonic, but this is still a nice, honest quote. Their love doesn’t drive them to aspire one another’s happiness (I mean, Jesus Christ do they hell…), or makes them do selfless acts of kindness – but Cathy sums up their love in a wonderful way: they understand each other more than anyone could (or tries to).

Travel Momentoes

It sometimes feels like an innate part of human nature to desire a souvenir of their experiences. To remind us when we’re old that we really did have a life, and an amazing one at that. Particularly on our travels, so we have something to fondly remember the best times of our lives.

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World Map

This one actually belongs to my dad, mines stored in a box in the garage… But for many people a top item to own is a world map to mark where you’ve visited, and where you want to go. Plus it helps improve your geographical knowledge, so wins all around. Mine is also a special design, where each country is drawn in proportion to one another. So you realise how small Europe is compared to the likes of Africa and South America. The more you know.

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Tacky Souvenirs

For some it may be a key ring, or a t shirt, for me I collect little models of famous and local landmarks. I hope to one day put them on a shelf and have my own miniature city of the wonders of the world and more (maybe with a little toy ape on the Empire State Building).

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Postcards

Some people like to collect them for themselves, I always make sure to write a postcard to each parent and the grandparents (sometimes I remember to post them in the country I’m visiting, or when I’m back in the UK…) It’s quite interesting to read them again, and realise how much has changed since the first one I posted from Paris in my first year at university…

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Photographs

Aside from having my polaroids at hand, I really should print off some digital photos so I can make another photo album (The ones above are from quite a few years ago). Because nothing beats having a physical copy of those great memories, and an album is always great fun to flick through.

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Coins

Always worthwhile to hang onto foreign currency in case you visit the country again, and always fun to find in your regular purse when hunting for your normal currency.

Ooo another Liebster Award…

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Well, with a big thanks to Globe Trotting I have another liebster award and some more question to answer and pass on to some other blogs that I think are great fun to read 🙂

Why did you start your blog?

I wanted to practice my writing skills, and a blog has more freedom than sending articles to online magazines all the time. I like experimenting with posts- trying lists, long rants, reviews of places, and to upload my photos.

If you could run your own business, what would it be?

I’ve always fancied the idea of running a cafe/bookshop. Possibly with a little space for evening events, like poetry readings and a platform for local artists. A place that would be a welcome refuge for all 🙂

Do you have any phobia’s?

Spiders. Little creatures of evil. And blue whales, I heard they’re bigger than any dinosaur that ever existed. Terrifying.

What was your favourite subject in school?

English literature, always loved it from creative writing as a child to obtaining my degree back in July.

What’s the scariest situation you’ve ever been in?

Hmm, possibly when I was a child a friend and I hid from our parents as a joke as we were heading home from school. But then we ended up losing them and looked around for a while, getting worried that we may be trapped in school for ever and ever. Long story short, they came looking for us and my mum was furious.

Have you ever broken a bone?

think I once broke my big toe going down a hill on a kids toy scooter when I was about 14/15. I got it caught in some grass and went flying off the toy I was too big for (which was hilarious). The toe became red, swollen and I couldn’t walk properly. Never got it checked, which I wouldn’t advise…

What tracks would be in your perfect music playlist?

I think the big ballads of the musicals Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, because they are always awesome. Plus the uplifting songs by Green Day and Frank Turner, who I always love listening to. Otherwise it would be whatever I’m obsessed with listening to at the moment- at the moment it is songs by Birdy, such as ‘Wings’ and ‘Let it Go’, or Lorde’s ‘Bravado’ which I think it awesome.

Do you play any intruments?

I learnt to play violin and then bass guitar when I was younger, although I haven’t practised either in about 2 years. Keep meaning to, it was always a great hobby to have.

What is love?

Hmm, I think to me its finding someone/people who makes you feel like you’re home, anywhere and anytime. Or when they can be so irritating/aggravating you kinda want to punch them in the face, but you’d much rather just give them a hug.

If someone invented a crystal ball would you use it and see your future?

Ooo yes. Not to see important things, like who, if anyone, I marry, if I have children etc etc. But maybe to glimpse into the near future, to see what goals I have to work towards.

In turn, I nominate:

The Wayfaring Bumble Bea

Wenderleen

Forensic Traveller

Amanda Afield

My Life Lived Full

What was the last book you read?

Do you prefer dogs or cats?

What would be your ideal superpower?

Which celebrity (dead or alive) would you like to travel with, and where?

Which friend or family member is your biggest inspiration?

What was your dream job as a child?

Which horror film you have seen scared you the most?

Which is your favourite festive holiday?

Who is your favourite band/musician?

What is a huge pet peeve of yours?