Finding your happy place

I’ve always thought it’s nice to have a happy place. Somewhere you feel chilled that isn’t your house. You sometimes need a change of scene, but don’t want to go anywhere you’d feel stressed or on edge. You want to go somewhere you can do your own thing and feel happy doing so.

With the stresses of everyday life and all the things we’ve got to deal with, I think it’s so important to find these places. To find somewhere that cheers you up or helps you feel calmer. And even when you’re feeling great, it can be just another thing to make your day more enjoyable.  

Many of you who have me on your social media will know that I absolutely love Bonobo in Aberdeen. When it first opened, I was keen to see what it was like, despite not being vegan myself. But ever since my first visit, I’ve loved every minute spent there.  

The coffee, tea and food are great at Bonobo, but it’s the atmosphere that makes the place. Everyone seems so laid back and that often makes all the difference in the world. I’ve never felt stressed there – it’s so calm. And I’ve also never felt like I’ve outstayed my welcome either. Every time I come in, I feel like I can take my time – I could spend hours at a time there, reading and writing.  

I’m really glad that I now have a go to place. It has definitely become what I’d call my happy place. And I think it’s such a great place to have.  


The days you’re your own best friend 

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my friends. They’re some of the most amazing people and I love being around them. But there are times you need to just amuse yourself. Either your friends are away or they’re just not free. And that’s when you become your own best friend for the time being.

Admittedly, this does sound a little strange, but hear me out – it’s not really as odd as it sounds.

Over the summer, I’ve found myself doing literally anything to get out of the house, whether it’s with friends or not. But when I’m not with anyone else, I’ve spent a lot of time at coffee shops, reading and writing and buzzing from all the caffeine.

And I’ve actually really loved every minute of it. There’s something so therapeutic about it. You’re surrounded by so many other people, so you’re never really alone. Sometimes you’ll even find yourself in a conversation with someone, even if it’s a passing comment. And I think that’s pretty lovely.

But anyway, over the past few weeks, I have learned to “enjoy my own company”. It’s amazing how quickly the time passes when you’re completely lost in your book or when you’ve become totally invested in the new blog post you’re writing. And the atmosphere of a nice coffee shop, for me anyway, makes it a whole lot better.

So I’ve realised that spending my days doing this has become my new favourite thing. Even if there isn’t anyone I know with me, I don’t necessarily feel alone. And once you’ve got to that point, your own company doesn’t seem quite so bad.


My 7 Favourite Aberdeen Coffee Shops

My summer so far has mostly consisted of spending time in coffee shops. When I’m not at the one in which I work, I’m trying new ones or going to ones I already know and love. Because there’s nothing quite like reading a good book and having coffee, right? So I made a short list of my favourite coffee shops I’ve visited this summer.

7. Tempo

Tempo is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. You pay for your time there and can help yourself to anything you like. It costs 10 pence per minute and all proceeds go to a cancer charity. On your way in, you leave your name at the desk and pay on your way out.

There is so much to choose from including: tea, coffee, cold drinks, scones and even soups. And it’s just like your own home – when finished, you put your dishes in the dishwasher. It is, in my opinion, a great concept.

6. Mojo

On George Street, Mojo is another lovely independent coffee shop. Both drinks and food are very well priced. For example, the macaroni is a decent size (not too big or small) and is only £3. It tastes pretty good too! And the really calming atmosphere there makes it so easy to sit and get totally lost in a book.

5. Cup

Cup is right at the heart of the city centre, on Little Belmont Street. It’s fairly small but it does seem to be popular. And it has such great personality. It’s nicely decorated, one wall having wallpaper with a map of the world. There is also a great variety of food, cakes, teas and coffees – as you’d expect from a coffee shop!

4. Long Dog Café

This is an amazing place for dog lovers. Dogs are welcome inside, as are people without a dog. The Long Dog Café has its fair share of food and drink choices. They even have freak-shakes, which look absolutely AMAZING! And I can confirm that the Jammy Dodger freak-shake tastes incredible. I really think the Long Dog Café is such a great idea – I’ve personally never heard of or been to anywhere like it.

3. Richmond Street Deli

While it’s a bit further out of the city centre, it is worth the 15 minute walk. (Well, 15 minutes if you’re leaving from the union street area). It’s fairly small but homely with background music playing. They have everything you’d expect from a coffee shop, including breakfasts and lunches. My favourite thing about the Richmond Street Deli is their book swap. There are shelves full of books that can trade one of your own for. So I’ll definitely be making use of that in the near future!

2. Books and Beans

Books and Beans is already well-known and loved by many in the Aberdeen area. I’ve definitely been in a fair few times myself. On Belmont Street, it’s in a very central location. They have loads of soups, sandwiches, drinks and more. And, as the name suggests, it is also a second hand book shop. There are loads of titles you can choose from which, for someone like me anyway, is always a bonus!

1. Bonobo

And last but not least, Bonobo. It’s a new vegan café on Skene Street. I’m not vegan myself but I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve been in. Bonobo is so quirky and also has a really lovely atmosphere . There is also outside seating in a beautiful garden. I absolutely love their banana bread, which I had the first time I went there. So I’ll definitely be going back to Bonobo a whole lot more.

So although Aberdeen isn’t necessarily the most interesting place in the world, it does have its fair share of fantastic coffee shops. And they’ve done a great job in keeping me occupied so far this summer!


Will e-readers ever replace the traditional printed book?

Technological changes over the past few years have transformed the way in which we consume fiction. The rise of the Kindle and other such devices means that many of us have decided to ditch the print medium as a means of reading. E-books are so easily and quickly accessible online, even if you’re on the go. But will they ever knock physical print books off the shelves?

Personally, I have never used an e-reader for books I’ve read through choice. But I know several people who do. And there are various reasons why they may have chosen to do so. E-readers are far more convenient for a lot of people as they’re easier to hold and are smaller than hardback and paperback. They’re also lighter, which makes them so much better to carry around.

You don’t necessarily need a light on if you’re reading one, which is great if, for example, you’re sharing a room with someone who wants the light off. And if you finish a book, it’s so simple to just start reading another one.

But so many of us, myself included, still prefer reading print novels. For me anyway, there’s something quite enjoyable about holding a physical copy of a book and actually turning the pages by hand. We’re exposed to so much advanced technology these days that it’s actually quite nice to enjoy something a bit more “old-fashioned”.

There are always fun and interesting ways to get cheap print books, such as doing book swaps. And there’s also no chance of a printed novel running out of charge, which is great if you don’t have access to a power socket. And, on a more personal note, I do love that I can look at all the books on my shelves, with all their own different sizes, colours and sense of individuality. It’s such a great thing. It might just be me, but I feel far more invested in a story-line if I’m reading it in print.

It’s pretty difficult to guess what trends will be like in the next few years in terms of e-readers and print books. We all have our preferences of how we consume media. I really do hope that print books continue to be popular among readers. But a big part of me thinks that print books are pretty safe for the time being.


Why I’ll always love independent coffee shops

There’s nothing quite like small, independent coffee shops. They all have their own quirks and sense of individuality. And that’s what, in my opinion, makes them so great.

My favourite thing about them is how they are all so unique in their own way. There is nowhere else quite like any particular independent coffee shop. Chains will always serve their purpose but they’re all just the same as each other. They don’t have the same kind of ‘personality’ somewhere that’s independent.

I think it’s great to see how much staff actually care at independent cafes. And by going to one, you’re helping local people instead of big shot CEOs who’ve come to care solely about how much profit they can make. (And why on earth would a company pay their taxes, right?!) But everyone really does seem so much more personable at independent places.

One thing I’ve found with independent coffee shops is that I actually look forward to going back to them. Not just for the coffee, but also for the atmosphere. As someone who loves reading and blogging (well, any kind of writing really), they’re great places to go. I honestly have no idea just how long I’ve spent at coffee shops doing just that, but I absolutely love it.

So having been to my fair share of both chain and independent coffee shops, I know exactly which I prefer. Spending my afternoons in quirky coffee shops has definitely become one of my favourite things ever.


Accepting yourself for who you are

We all have individual things about us that make us who we are. Things that make us different from everyone else and shape our personalities.

And that’s what makes the world so amazing. It is so diverse. Everyone has their own mannerisms and we all speak and look different. Some people are quiet while some are loud; some black and some white; some are gay, some are straight; some are great academics while others are brilliant musicians. The list goes on. And, for me, that is incredible. It’s been said so often but, really, how dull would this place be if we were all the same?

But realistically, we aren’t all going to be everyone’s cup of tea – not everyone will get on well. Some personalities simply clash while some, for whatever reason, cannot accept those who aren’t the same as them. It may be unfortunate, but that’s life. It is what it is.

So it’s partly for this reason that we need to accept ourselves for who we are. We should all be able to do that. After all, not everyone else will, and we’ve got to start somewhere. That’s not to say we necessarily have to like everything about ourselves – no-one is perfect. But acceptance is key.

As for me, this is something I sometimes find difficult to do. But after giving it some thought, it does become easier. For example, I accept the fact that I often overthink things or sometimes over-react to something. They’re not great things, but they’re simply a part of who I am. But it’s also important to remember the positives as well. I am so passionate and driven and I hope that takes me far in journalism. I’m focussed, which is always a bonus when you really want to achieve something. I also identify as bi. And it’s for this reason that I’m so grateful that the UK is as tolerant as it is.

So there are loads of different things about ourselves that make us unique. Our lists could go on and on. But as long as we remember to all of the small things that shape our identities, that will go a long way.


My happiest life moments so far

I’ve always known the vital importance of keeping your happiest moments at the forefront of your mind. For me, they ensure I remember that however bad life may sometimes be, it also brings so much good. So I picked out just a few of my happiest memories and gave them even greater consideration.

  • Visiting Good Morning Britain

Admittedly, this is something I have written and talked so much about. But it really was such an exciting opportunity. Sitting in the studio, surrounded by all the media equipment and others who share my passion for the industry was the best thing. And being able to learn from industry professionals really was so valuable.

Free Cupcakes are always a bonus
  • News Academy Conference, Glasgow

I attended this conference quite a while ago but it still sticks out in my mind. This event also gave me a fantastic opportunity to ask questions of journalists and editors. Listening to their advice and about their experiences was so encouraging. It was at that event that I even asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon a question. While I don’t agree with her politics, I found it to be a fantastic opportunity. It was interesting to see how supportive she appeared to be of those wishing to go into journalism.

FM Nicola Sturgeon giving her speech
  • Work Experience at STV

The week I spent at the STV newsroom was a great experience. I learned so much. In all honesty, I was just so pleased to be in an environment in which news and journalism flourishes. After all, that is exactly what I’m working towards.

On the last day, I got the chance to read out a short news bulletin. Being able to read from an auto-cue in a real life TV studio was the most incredible feeling. Although it was only for practice, I was absolutely delighted to have been given that chance.

In the STV Studio
  • NaSTA Conference, Birmingham

I will always remember this phenomenal weekend. The whole experience pushed me further and further to want to achieve my goals. There were hundreds of students from different TV stations, all so passionate about the broadcast media. Conversations happened so naturally and everyone got on so incredibly well.

But the most memorable moment of that whole weekend is one I could never, ever forget. Getting to meet one of my greatest role models in journalism was an incredible feeling. Fiona Bruce is absolutely incredible in person. Her off-screen personality is just amazing and she is clearly so passionate about her job. And being able to actually tell her about my media journey so far and ask her questions will always be a high point in my life.

Myself, with Fiona Bruce
  • Being at home in London

And finally, being in my home city is something that never fails to make me happy. Just being there is enough – simple as that. As I now live so far away, getting there is more difficult. But that’s what makes every visit so special.

Last time I was in London was for the Good Morning Britain Q&A. I had time before my train so I obviously explored the city some more. Wandering the streets of London on a warm, sunny day, not having to care about anything for a while. This was honestly the happiest I’d been for ages. For me, being at home is always amazing.

At the Shard, The Thames in the background 

So no matter what happens in life, I’m so grateful for the things that make me happy. I just hope there’s so much more to come.