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.  

Uni Antics

Moving to Belgium: being alone in the big, bad world 

We are now in August. This means I go out to Belgium next month. It’s pretty hard to believe just how quickly it has come around. I’ll actually be moving away from my home country for a while. And I’ve never even been to Belgium before, so everything will be totally new. I have very mixed emotions about the whole thing, but they are mostly positive.

For obvious reasons, I am quite anxious about being alone in a country I don’t know. But this is the perfect chance to experience something completely new. I’ll have to do things without anyone else’s input and I’ll have to think entirely for myself. But these are life skills that, as far as I’m concerned, I really need. I know it’ll make me a much more independent person. So while it seems like a scary thought now, it will definitely be worth it.  

But what I feel above all else is excitement. I have the amazing chance to become immersed in a whole new culture. With Brussels being at the centre of the EU, I’ll be able to interact with more people from all over Europe, and possible even beyond that. And learning some Dutch and brushing up on my French will be a bonus. All of this will surely go a long way in helping me achieve my goal of becoming a foreign correspondent.  

I’m sure this next month and a half will fly past and I’ll be in Belgium before I know it. It’s all starting to become more real now, and that’s perhaps the most exciting thing of all.  


Knowing when to walk away

We all experience something we once thought would never come to an end. Whether it’s a job, a relationship or even a friendship with someone you always considered to be a close friend. And sometimes, for whatever reason, things may start to go downhill. You may have had an argument or just realised that things were no longer working out. And other times, you have no idea why things seemed to be so wrong.  
You find yourself trying to make things right. You don’t want to lose what you have. So you try to make things ok again. You find yourself checking with the person if everything is fine from their point of view. You just want peace of mind that nothing has actually happened. That it’s all in your head. And sometimes, something will have happened, at which point you can fix things. Which is great – at least you can move on from it. But other times, it was just a misunderstanding. For me, that’s always a relief. Because things are just normal, right? 

But I’ve learned that things don’t always work out like that. You think you’ve done the right thing and cleared the air so your friendship will be as good as it once was. Sometimes though, that could not be further from the truth.  

Things keep on being awkward. You continue making the effort to start conversations so you can at least communicate. After all, you always considered them to be a close friend.  

But that’s one of the unfortunate things about life. Good things just end without any reason. And that’s when you, sadly, have to make the decision to simply walk away. You tried your best and failed. So what other option is there? 

I have no idea why this happens, or why it’s happened to me. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t bothered me – of course it has. But sometimes you just have to let go and move on from it. You can’t let it build up inside and steal your happiness. This whole hing has cost me a lot already.  

So although it’s often enough difficult to let go of something you really valued, sometimes it’s just the best option for everyone.  


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.