Blonde back in Bristol

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.

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Gladly jumping on the lightbox bandwagon

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?

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‘I’ll take one of each, please’

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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!

 

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Blonde back in Bristol

How to Survive Cheer Tryouts 101

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..

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First time in uniform.. Don’t let our calm exteriors fool you

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.

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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

-Doe Zantamata’

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The stereotype= wrong.. except for our love of sassy photos

 

 

How to Survive Cheer Tryouts 101

Oxford wandering and an almost duck attack

I’ve been meaning to visit one of my best friends in Oxford since September. Yesterday I finally made true on my promise and hopped on a train to a place which made me feel as though I had either gone back in time or stepped through the looking glass..

Oxford. The word summons ideas of grandeur and elegance, and rightly so. With almost every new view my breath was taken away. In summary, spectacular buildings, good gardening and dreamy waterways.

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I was promised a good date and oh did Bessie deliver. First I was taken on a tour of the city with facts dropped left, right and centre about the history of the university (why pay for a tour guide when you have your very own Oxford Uni student?), before a wander through Port Meadow, punting, and finally ending the day with stargazing in Christchurch.

The mini heatwave gave the whole day a holiday-like feel and it was wonderful to catch up with one of my favourite people. As well as surprising her by bringing another of our friends from back home along with me, yet another fellow Sheffield-er (hey Frankee) spontaneously jumped on a train and came to meet us in the evening, making for a full blown reunion.

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By the Radcliffe Camera

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Arch goals

Following a walk to The Perch pub by Port Meadow (well worth a visit if only for the wisteria-covered archway) and some unexpected swimming in the river for people who were warned to wear aqua-appropriate underwear, we headed to the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse to fulfil the ultimate Oxford expectation and hit the punts. We managed to get about 10 metres before Frankee called to say she had arrived and was stood at the dock, which meant promptly turning back around to fetch her in a dramatic turn and being hit by several tree branches along the way.

 

Things learnt through this experience:

  • punting is harder than it looks
  • the evening light is best for well lit punt selfies
  • do not feed ducks doughnuts

An especially pushy creature, the duck was determined to follow our boat for the length of our journey once it discovered that we had food. Throwing a small piece of sugared doughnut to distract it whilst we made a (not so) fast getaway is amongst my biggest regrets. It was promptly gobbled, before the duck returned to claim the rest and in doing so ended up flapping it’s way across the punt accompanied by my screams and my friends’ hysterics.

After my heart had recovered from this incident, and our punt session had sadly finished, we headed back into town to collect jumpers and blankets before making our way to Christchurch College to do some stargazing.

Because in Oxford, laying in a bed of blankets watching the stars from surroundings featured in Harry Potter feels completely normal.

The perfect day with lovely people, in a place which I fully intend to visit again at the soonest opportunity.

 

Dress: Topshop, Sunglasses: ASOS, Fringe sandals: Next

 

 

Oxford wandering and an almost duck attack