Life, University

University: The Home Stretch

January 17, 2017

Reading Harry Potter with coffee

Hello, from the final semester of my undergraduate degree! Oh, that feels pretty good to say / type.

Exam season is over, and I feel very unnerved because I felt my exams went well. I did actually start revising early / when I should have / not three days before like last year, and I went into the exams feeling fairly confident. I am concerned that I finished an exam that was three hours long in just over and hour, but what’s done is done.

Why is it that whenever we feel we’ve done something well, we feel so unsure of ourselves? Like we’ve done something horrendously wrong, and slipped into an alternate universe where we actually know nothing and our brain tricks us? Thanks, brain.

For some reason, my university have given us this week off lectures. Maybe it’s to give people time to recover from exam stress? So I’m enjoying a week of not having a huge amount to do. I am going to do some project work though, prepare for semester two, write my personal statement and apply for some masters courses, marathon some more Game of Thrones with Daz, and read. Oh, to be able to read without feeling guilty about it! I cannot wait.

What have you been up to lately?

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Ireland, Travel

10 pieces of Reykjavik’s street art you need to see & where to find it

January 12, 2017

10 pieces of Reykjavik street art you need to see and where to find it

Reykjavik might not be the kind of city you’d associated with a big street art scene, but you cannot miss the colourful, and slightly bizarre, pieces plastered on shop fronts, peeking out from alleyways, and on the pavement.

This post is by no means an extensive list at all; it’s just the coolest stuff I saw that I think you should see too. I Heart Reykjavik lists some other great pieces.

According to Iceland Review, graffiti on public property is considered vandalism and is, as such, forbidden. Howe

Magical intergalactic rainbow unicorn

There is no better way to start any list of any kind than with an intergalactic rainbow unicorn, and my Mum is sure some kind of Davie Bowie reference needs to be added to that description too. We spotted this near Reykjavik’s city hall.

Where to see it: Near city hall, down Sudurgata. The exact location is here, and it’s the green building on Google Maps.

 

Reykjavik street art

Where to find them: You will spot the Reykjavik Design March piece on the end of a building on Vonarstraeti, and then the stamp piece will be right in front of you then; you can actually see that one on Google Maps too.

Godzilla and Bender attack Reykjavik

King Kong Reykjavik

Ok, so maybe this piece is my joint favourite. If Godzilla attacking Reykjavik isn’t cool enough on it’s own, Futurama’s Bender is also at it. And King Kong is just chilling round the corner.

Where to see it: About half way up Laugavegur; you can’t miss it.

 

Isey, Reykjavik

And while you’re searching for Godzilla and Bender, there’s no way you can miss Isey all painted pretty.

Where to see it: Isey on Laugavegur.

 

I love the detail and vastness of this piece. There’s just so much to look at, and I’m not entirely sure “what the message is”, but I like it.

Where to see it: Down Freyjugata. This is the exact location, but on Google Maps the building is blue and covered in ‘standard’ graffiti.

We won't be like them Reykjavik

I miss the smell of your hair reykjavik

This one really got to me. It’s just the simplicity of it; when I read it I could just feel someone’s longing, and since I wasn’t there with Daz and missed him, it got to me.

Where to see it: These are just a little down the road from the piece above, and on the end of a building that goes down the Valastigur alley. Again, this is the exact location but Google Maps is out of date. If you walk a few more metres down Valastigur, you’ll see a couple more pieces.

Wild Welva Reykjavik

I was really taken aback when I saw this piece; it’s just so detailed, and it reminded me of Rafiki from The Lion King. When I got home and did some research, the detail made sense. This piece was created by Wild Welva, a Spanish street artist, who first creates his work on paper and then pastes them onto walls. You can find out more about his work on his Facebook page

Where to see it: Keep going down from the magic hand piece towards Tjornin and you will come across this on the side of a building. This is the exact location, but the wall is just white on Maps.

Marley Coffee Reykjavik

Where to see it: Marley Coffee on the corner of Grettisgata.

Where’s the best street art you’ve seen?

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Canada, Photography, Travel

I hiked up a mountain for a brownie | Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail

January 5, 2017

Lake Agnes

It has been said that I will do anything for tasty, sweet treats, including walking up a mountain for it; and that is exactly what happened when we hiked up to the Lake Agnes teahouse.

The teahouse was listed as one of the best things to do in Banff National Park in our Lonely Planet guidebook (I think it was around 3rd or 4th?), and as soon as I heard that there was cake waiting for me at the top of a mountain, I was up for it. The book made it sound pretty easy, but anything which involves uphill is never easy.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise from the Lake Agnes teahouse trail

The trail starts out next to Lake Louise, and climbs up through the forest, with switchbacks and the occasional sneaky peak through the trees down to Lake Louise.

Mirror Lake

After about 30 minutes of walking, you come to Mirror Lake; a nice, peaceful little lake, that you’re so thankful for seeing because it gives you a good excuse to stop and catch your breath.

Waterfall on the way to Lake Agnes

The trail continues for about another 15-20 minutes past Mirror Lake, but it’s hard work because the path turns quite rocky and you have to avoid horse poop. And then, when you think your legs are completely done for, you’re met by stairs. I’m fairly certain we dragged ourselves up those stairs on upper body strength (which I’m not exactly known for having), not leg strength.

But when you reach the top, you realise it was completely worth it.

Lake Agnes

The Lake Agnes teahouse

View to Lake Louise from Lake Agnes

View from Lake Agnes

Lake Agnes itself is beautiful, and it’s nice to perch yourself on one of the cool rocks, catch your breath, cool down, and take it all in. But don’t forget to turn around and look down through the trees, where you can see your starting point.

Following the calm of the lake, prepare for a bit of chaos in the teahouse. The problem is that there are too many visitors for the teahouse; there just simply isn’t enough room. It’s a case of jumping on the first table you see.

A snack is definitely needed before you head back down the trail, and the teahouse has a pretty good selection of cakes and other snacky things. Let me tell you that mountain brownies, cookies, and hot chocolate were exactly what our bodies needed. (Well, probably not. I’m sure a banana would have been healthier.) If you don’t fancy the business of the cafe, you can always take your own snack and flask and enjoy it by the side of the lake.

The prices were alright considering you’re on the side of a mountain and I imagine it’s a pain to get supplies up there. (Interesting fact; I asked the waitress how they got up there each day, and apparently they live up there all summer. Nice, huh?)

Don’t fill up on too much tea and coffee though because there aren’t any toilets, and the closest ones we found were right back at the bottom at Lake Louise.

When you come to head back down, you can either go back the way you came, or there’s another route which I highly recommend because you get this view.

This trail meets back up with the other trail at Mirror Lake, and it’s not any slower or faster, but that view.

If you fancy a bit more of an adventure, you can carry on to The Beehives. While we were driving to Lake Louise, we naively said”we could do the Beehives too if we feel up to it,” HA! Optimistic Daz and Rosie were very wrong; there was no way we were feeling up to it. That said, we have decided to somehow become marginally fitter and do the Beehives next summer if we can.

What lengths have you gone to for cake?

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Canada, Photography, Travel

Why you should visit Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

January 3, 2017

Why you should visit Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park was the first stop on our Canadian adventure and we were absolutely in awe of it. If you ever go to Alberta or British Columbia, Emerald Lake needs to be on your to visit list.

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

You already want to
Photos of Emerald Lake must pop up on my Facebook feed at least once a week because friends have liked or tagged me in it when they’ve seen it on another page. I’m willing to bet that in the past few weeks, you’ve seen a photo of this lodge surrounded by snow, looking like a dreamy winter wonderland.

Reflections on Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

The reflections
On a still day, this beautiful lake reflects the surrounding trees and mountains like a teal-tinted mirror.

 

The trail around Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

The trail

A trail allows you to walk all the way around the lake, and it splits off to other trails if you fancy being more adventurous. The trail is pretty flat so it’s easy for all the family, and you definitely don’t need to be superfit. The only thing you might want to do is consider wearing wellies because the last part was fairly muddy; we wore walking boots and were fine, but if it’s rained heavily recently, wellies might be a safer bet just in case.

It probably took us about two hours to walk the trail, though I’m sure you could walk if faster, but I don’t think you’d want to rush this place.

 

Canoes on Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

You can canoe here

I’m convinced that there is no better way to explore a lake than by canoe; and luckily for you, there is canoe rental at the end of the lake. We didn’t actually canoe on Emerald Lake, but it’s on my list of things to do when we go back in the summer.

 

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

The water seems to change colour
Depending on where you’re stood, or the angle of the sun, the colour of the lake seems to change colour.

 

The mountains around Emerald Lake

Mountains around Emerald Lake

The mountains

When you think about Canada, one of the first things you might think about is the Rockies. Emerald Lake is the perfect place spend some time in awe of the mountains. That said, you honestly don’t have to look vaguely hard to find mountains when you visit this part of the world.

 

The forest trail at Emerald Lake

The forest
On one side of the lake, the trail through the edge of the forest.

 

Emerald Lake Lodge

You can stay here

If you want to stay surrounded by Emerald Lake, you can stay in Emerald Lake Lodge.

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Life, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

The stories behind my 2016 Instagram Top 9

December 29, 2016

Hallo from beautiful, snowy Reykjavik. It’s been a while since I’ve had time to even think about blogging, but that’s what happens in your third year at university! It’s ironic that I have to go on holiday to find time to blog. 

Anywho, I’ve seen a lot of Instagram Top 9s floating about recently, and thought it would be fun to take a look back at what’s happened this year. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


1. Moraine Lake, Canada

Moraine Lake is mine and Daz’s “mind palace”. It’s one of the few places I’ve been that leaves you feeling a little breathless and in complete awe that you’re stood where you are and are seeing what you’re seeing. The colour of the lake is exactly as it is in this photo (Canada has little need for photoshop, by the way) and with the mountains towering over the lake, it’s just so perfect. If you’re ever in British Columbia or Alberta, do not miss Moraine Lake. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


2. Fantastic baths and where to find them 

This was taken really recently, when I broke up for Christmas. As well as a serious lack of blogging, there has been a severe lack of reading books that aren’t text books this year. There’s not much I can do about that, but relaxing in a bath, having a quick read is a nice way to unwind for a moment or two. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


3. Just some book porn

Fellow bookworms will appreciate the feeling of accomplishmen of rearranging a bookshelf. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


4. Autumn mornings

I remember this so clearly. I’d gotten up early to meet my project supervisor and I was in time, until a friend messaged and told me the meeting time had changed. Initially, I was annoyed at getting up an hour earlier than needs be, but then I realised it would give me chance to amble around the park and enjoy autumn. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


5. Why early mornings are worth it

It was our final morning in Canada, and Diaz got me up at 7am to show me how beautiful Two Jack Lake looked with the reflection of the mountains and the clear sky. I am so glad he was up early to see this because this is one of my favourite memories of that trip. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


6. Emerald Lake is better in person than on Facebook

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park is one of those places that frequently pops up on Facebook travel pages. Just before we went, my sister tagged me in one of those posts and I am so glad she did. We visited the lake on our first morning and it really set the tone of the trip for us. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


7. San Francisco sunsets

I took this photo the first night I stayed in San Francisco and I doubt that I’ve ever seen a sunset like it. The colours were so vivid and the way you can just about see the end of the Golden Gate Bridge in the back of the photo makes this one of my favourite photos. 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


8. Books and beans 

I’m not entirely sure why this photo is one of my top nine to be honest. It’s pretty simple; books and beans on toast. Maybe that’s it? Who doesn’t love sitting down and reading while very carefully eating as not to spill food on your books? 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


9. The best way to spend an afternoon

I’m not sure if this was taken on a Sunday, but it looks a lot like the ‘perfect Sunday’ kind of activities. There’s a nice toasty drink, some good music, and a selection of books to keep you going until Sunday dinner. 

Life

8 signs your “too old” for gigs

November 3, 2016

Taylor Swift on the 1989 tour in Manchester 2015

I remember when I first started going to gigs, I’d be there way before the doors opened and I thought it would always be that way. Nah, not so much when you’ve been at work all day. I love seeing music performed live, though I do feel a tiny bit “old” when I go to a gig now. 

 

When you use the toilet to go to the toilet

Gone are the days I used the toilet to change into a band t-shirt I’ve just brought. Nope, I’m going to the toilet because I need to pee. I swear I used to have a bigger bladder…

 

You actually buy drinks

Ok, so I think the reason I never had to use the toilet for it’s intended purposes was because I spent all my money on band merchandise and had to dehydrate for the rest of the night, and hope security handed out cups of water.

 

You don’t buy band t-shirts at every. single. gig.

Maybe this is because it cost you about £10 for a bottle of water, or maybe it’s because your wardrobe is already overflowing with band t-shirts, and you don’t really wear them anymore. This is perhaps the saddest sign that you’re “too old” for gigs.

 

Standing? My feet hurt.

It’s not like I never stand at a gig anymore, but if I can get seated tickets you can bet I’m gonna jump all over those and enjoy the comfort of my seat during set changes.

 

You rock up well after the doors have opened

I have done my fair share of standing freezing in the British winter waiting for a venue to open doors at least half an hour later than listed on the ticket. I think the worst queuing experience I ever had was when I went to see Paramore at the NIA in December and stood still in a queue for about two hours when it was 4C and trying to snow. Never again.

Now, we’re terribly civilised and go to dinner first and turn up at least an hour after the doors have opened.

 

You realise some fans were about two when the bands first album came out

In my head I am still 15 years old, so it always horrifies me when I learn that one of my favourite albums came out over a decade ago. What horrifies me more is seeing fans who are actually 15 and realising they were about two years old when the band first started out. 

 

“I’ll just be over here by the doors”

After standing in the cold waiting for the doors, we’d race right to the front and sneak our way up to the barriers, or as close as we could get, while avoiding getting sweat on by strangers or eating a mouthful of hair belonging to the overly enthusiastic head banger in front of us. Nah. Nowadays, it’s all about standing at the side or at the back, away from the chaos.

 

You don’t go head to toe in black

Ok, so maybe this only applies to former emo kids. You no longer turn up to gigs looking like Richmond from the IT Crowd, and go with whatever is comfortable, and not too sweaty when you’re in a room full of hundreds and thousands of strangers.

 

 

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Mwnt, Wales, Photography, UK

8 photos that will make you want to visit Mwnt, Wales

November 1, 2016

Mwnt beach

For me, Mwnt is the very definition of a ‘hidden gem’. Just a few miles up the coast from Cardigan, this secluded lil’ beach is the perfect place to relax and try to spot bottlenose dolphins and seals.

Mwnt will always hold a special place in my heart because my Nan used to take me, my sister, and cousin every summer when we were younger. The three of us would spend the whole week in the sea and loved it. On reflection, I’m not sure how my Nan kept herself occupied all day, because all we wanted to do was play in the sea.

In the summer, Daz and I spent a couple of days in Mwnt, St. Dogmael’s and Cardigan, and I was reminded all over again why this is one of my favourite parts of the world, and it was so much fun to show it to Daz.

The beach can be fairly busy in the height of summer, but in the week during the rest of the year it’s peaceful and you feel like you’ve got the whole coast to yourself.

I’ma let the photos do the rest of the talking and convince you that you need to visit Mwnt – because you really do.

Mwnt beach

Waves on Mwnt beach

Mwnt beach

Mwnt beach

View from the top of Foel y Mwnt

View over Mwnt beach

Mwnt beach

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