Just a little note to say that I’ve upped and moved my blog to a new website- if you fancy checking it out for more of my life, coffee and city updates I’m now at http://www.blondeinbristol.com! If you like what you see, please feel free to subscribe!
I’M BACK! Bristol is my.. uh.. maybe not oyster. Shall we say fishcake? No.. too controversial. Lets go with fish finger (the budget kind that I shall be munching on all too often from now on).
I arrived at my lovely 2nd year home at around 7.30pm on Saturday night, and have since passed through quite a number of thoughts, feelings and chocolate digestives. The first order of business upon arrival was a much awaited reunion with housemates, before settling in with an episode of Friends and a microwaved meal (it took all the energy I could muster). I know, the glamour..
Day 1 was spent unpacking the hoards of things I have somehow accumulated over the past year, and trying to get my new room into some semblance of order. I’m actually really happy with how it’s turned out.. especially this little gem that I picked up from The Design Studio on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield.
However, the first morning in the house was also witness to an incident. Ten seconds into my first shower, and the curtain and rail fell on top of me, leaving me forcing their weight up with one hand and using the other to frantically attempt to switch off the water gushing onto me. There’s always one, isn’t there?
We treated ourselves to a brunch at Boston Tea Party yesterday morning, which is conveniently (maybe dangerously) close to our new house, and its funny how quickly things seem to have gone back to normal. I feel like every time I leave one city for the other I have to readjust slightly, but this is always going to be easier when accompanied with fruit smoothies and friends, right?
It’s weird being back- a mixture of heartbreak at having to leave my beloved Sheffield girls (and parents, I’m not ashamed to say) and yet excitement for the year to come.
I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy leaving Sheffield. I may have a year of uni and living away from home under my belt, but I’m still sat here listening to Fifteen by Taylor Swift wondering when I’m going to start feeling like a grown up. However, the pain is numbed somewhat by the likelihood of many more berry smoothies and the promise of visits soon from friends and family. Any suggestions for where to take them? Please leave me ideas in the comments!
I’m not, nor have I ever been, a sporty person. In fact, I basically repel gym equipment. One fateful day in a Y9 PE class, we were instructed to dribble a basketball to the end of a line, throw it at a wall, catch it on its return, and dribble it back for the next person. Simple, right? I got the dribbling down, but after throwing it a tad too hard at the wall, it bounced back, hit me full in the face, and I fell to the floor in front of an entire class. It’s taken me a good few years to laugh about it, but that should tell you all you need to know about my athleticism.
So.. when I walked towards the glittery Bristol Jets stand at Freshers Fair last September, I found myself wishing that I could- just for once –not make an idiot out of myself and instead be one of those girls that make looking glamorous whilst doing sport look easy.
I bottled, skipped quickly past the stand… and then thought ‘why not?’. Why not give it a go? What had I got to lose? I walked back, the pom poms acting like magnets, and approached one of the smiley (but still fiercely intimidating to a fresher) older girls waving flyers. She insisted that the club was all inclusive and that no experience was needed, so I put my name down and took a cute postcard detailing the time and place of tryouts.
After getting home to discover that my new flatmate (now one of my best friends) had also signed up for tryouts, fear turned to excitement.. which turned back to fear in no time at all after actually arriving at the gym the following Wednesday afternoon. So many girls in fancy sportswear looking like they had just walked off a Nike ad campaign and I freaked. After being given numbers, and instructions on what the tests would be, we got started working our way round stations practicing dance, basic stunts and gymnastics (shudder). Without Sophie there, assuring me it would all be okay and I would survive this, I would have bolted within the first few minutes. But it was something I wanted to do.. and she happens to be ridiculously calm in stressful situations.
Just to give you some idea of the potential embarrassment I had brought upon myself, I can’t do a handstand. Or a cartwheel. I can just about manage a forward roll. Yeah, I questioned what I was doing there too. But the girls were lovely and not one negative comment was made.
I’d been told that Jets were all-inclusive.. but I had assumed this was just a line and that I would soon get an email saying ‘sorry, but you have been unsuccessful’. Instead, I was placed in Gameday- the non competitive team who attend uni games and put on a Varsity routine. This was taken at the first (basketball) game we cheered for..
Since then, I’ve spent Sundays waving poms supporting American football, and evenings practising stunts with girls who became some of my closest friends at uni. I went to Croatia for four days of dancing at Easter, and did three varsity performances without falling over once. I’ve learnt new skills, done heaps more exercise than ever before and met some of the sassiest and loveliest girls you can imagine.
It might sound cheesy, but joining cheer has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If you’re starting uni this September, my main piece of advice would be to just try things. If you think you’ll fail or people will laugh, do it anyway. How they managed to keep a straight face when I attempted a cartwheel before collapsing in a heap at tryouts I’ll never know, but the bitchy cheerleader stereotype was well and truly proven wrong.
As always, don’t let what people might say stop you from doing what you want, because 9 times out of 10 they’ll be much kinder than you think, and the other 1? They’re not worth worrying over.
‘Don’t let the fear of what could happen make nothing happen
Reflecting on my first year in Bristol, I’m a little overwhelmed. It isn’t until you look back on photos that you realise just how much happens in a year, or in this case only 9 months. I’ve loved exploring such a wonderful city with new friends and gaining some independence, despite doing everything I could to put off the dreaded weekly Tesco shop by the time the end of the year rolled around. Who wants to spend money on food when there are shoes to be bought??
Anyway, after the best first year I could have asked for, I’m back in Sheffield for the Summer. And it’s lovely. It’s lovely to see hometown friends and family, lovely to be able to relax, and lovely to be back in a house with a TV license. (Game of Thrones just isn’t the same on a laptop screen)
Here’s hoping that this summer will be filled with day trips, adventures around Sheff and lots of late night dancing free of should-be-revising-guilt.
Whilst I realise that this is probably the most cliché blog post that somebody living in Bristol could do, it seemed only appropriate for my first real entry.
For the past eight months I have been told over and again to visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Providing possibly the most iconic representation of Bristol, and set in beautiful scenery just a few minutes away from some of the prettiest shop-fronts I have ever seen, I had to visit before my first year came to a close.
And so, in a desperate attempt to escape all-consuming piles of revision and enjoy the last of the day’s sun, I optimistically changed into a dress and sunnies and wandered over to Clifton with friends who, thankfully, know their way round this city far better than I do.
I wasn’t disappointed. The bridge itself is spectacular, with a drop large enough to force me into looking up and ahead during the walk across, and the surrounding area is just beautiful.
Visiting at sunset provided the perfect lighting (which of course I took advantage of to take a few snaps..) and made for a lovely Summer evening.
Walking around this lovely city is fast becoming my favourite past-time, and I have no doubt that I shall be returning here in September.. if only to visit the much recommended Bar Chocolat.
It’s drawing to the end of my first year studying and living in Bristol and so, in the midst of revision chaos, of course my sensible mind thought that this would be the perfect time to start a blog.
It’s been such an incredible (almost) year. Moving to a new city, starting a new course, meeting new people- all things which at the time seemed completely overwhelming but which now I couldn’t imagine living without. Bristol is just as wonderful as the photos I poured over before moving and the smiley people at the open day promised, and moving there is among the best decisions I’ve ever made.
And so, through this blog I hope to document the more interesting exerts of my life in a city that makes me feel so lucky, whether that’s a new spot I’ve visited or a new style brightening up my day.
Whether you end up here intentionally or accidentally, thank you for reading and please feel free to comment!