As dusk falls, city lights emerge

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A return to London.  After a long stint at home, it’s always a little difficult in the first few days and weeks to fall into that London routine, where queueing, long commutes and spending over five pounds for a pint are a daily occurrence.
I always end up inexplicably missing the comfort of the hills and the sea. They are a constant when everything thing is in momentum, a steady reminder of home and of things bigger than myself. I always crave the presence of the horizon, of sunsets and sunrises framing the day, of seeing more than just a thin strand of sky.
In London, you can only see the horizon if you are on the river, the thin winding ribbon that threads itself through the blocky patchwork of houses and offices of the city. It’s at night, while walking back from work, that I can remember what I love about the city… London at night.

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New Years Resolution: Improve Photography

So, I am trying to learn how to take better photographs.

I’ve always been interested in photography, in fact, when I was younger, I hoarded all my money for years so that I could buy a good camera, (the same camera I use today in fact) so that I could learn the tricks of the trade. However, it has taken me over nine years to really understand that photography is more than just pointing and clicking.

For me, learning something new is both exciting and extremely frustrating. I am guilty of giving up new hobbies or skills just because i’m not automatically fantastic at it, but there isn’t much point in being able to sort of play 5 instruments instead of being good at 1 (I reached a new point when I tried to learn the accordion.) Like a magpie I have gathered an array of half hobbies over the years, from gardening to rock polishing, and knitting to learning to play the trumpet.

Like many others, at New Year I try to gather all the things I would like to change about myself (lose weight, get a job, become more assertive, learn a language. The list goes on and on) and make it a goal to completely change myself at the stroke of midnight. Alas, this year is no different, and once again, on the final week of 2015 I  began to compile the list of traits I would like to change, or the ones I would like to have and wish that the power of hope would magic me into another person, fairy god mother style. However, given the lack of  success in the previous 21 years, I have decided to stick with one: improve a skill. And that skill….photography.

I started this blog with the hopes of doing just that, and while I can’t see any progress yet, I will continue to try as I have certainly enjoyed it so far. I got a subscription to Adobe Photoshop for my Birthday/Christmas and I hope that I can learn to shoot and edit my pictures with more skill than I have previously.

These pictures were taken on the beach of my hometown Broughty Ferry, on possibly the only sunny day of the entire three weeks I was there. The editing is a little bit funny in parts, but I’m still trying to learn! Hope you all have a great New Year and that your lists are a little bit shorter!

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The Opposite of Loneliness in St Andrews

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The Opposite of Loneliness in St Andrews

University life, especially in St Andrews, while exciting and completely varied, can often lead to extreme cases of cabin fever. In a town so small, the feeling of being stuck in a bubble can be intense, and this feeling is especially concentrated in between the load of coursework and the onslaught of exams. I would spend many an evening stuck in the tiny cinderblock library listening to the soundtrack of frantic typing and surrounded by an air so thick with apprehension it could practically choke you. My favourite desk (only available if you arrived before 9) overlooked West Sands, a long stretch of sand bordered by the Old Course and fringed by tall pine trees. I would sit with my head in my hands and just stare out at the North Sea, in all its turbulent glory.

Throughout my time at St Andrews, the sea was my hook, the place I would go alone or with friends when we were stressed. We would stare out and talk, or not talk, and when we returned to the nests we would build ourselves during exams and essays, things would feel different, our perspectives readjusted. Continue reading

Ah, Summer, I’m missing you already.

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The view from my window

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November. It’s my birthday month, and as always I always look forward to its coming. I remember the best parts; friends and celebrations; crisp air and crunchy leaves; and being cocooned in blankets. But what I always forget, is that it is almost always completely overcast, and five days in, I am already wishing for some blue, blue skies. So I’m trying to get some secondary vitamin D by looking at photos from summer, and I thought I’d share some of the sunshine.

These are from my trip to Northern Spain, in the mountains of Cantabria, where I tagged along, last minute, on my parents holiday. Due to the last minute booking, I had very little knowledge of where we were actually going, so I relied on my Dad’s skill in holiday booking and hoped for the best.

I slept the entire plane journey and was prepared to wake up to beautiful blue skies, but alas, the moment we stepped off of the plane, we were surrounded by thick fog. The next step was to drive to our accommodation, which involved a heavy amount of twisty roads climbing higher and higher up into the peaks. Not that we could see a thing! The fog was so thick there was little to be seen past a few feet.

It was not until the morning that the view was revealed to us. And wow, what a view it was. The mountains were absolutely spectacular, and so varied! You would turn a corner and there would be an entirely different landscape before you.
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The Best Walks in London: Regent’s Canal

Canal boat in Little Venice  canal boat in little venice

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So I’ve been in London officially a month.

Having moved from a small town in Scotland, it has been pretty darn exciting living somewhere so big, busy and vibrant. To be honest, one of the best parts has been the food. There is so many places and cuisines I want to eat!

However, my dependency on public transport has led me to miss the long dawdling walks along the beach and on twisty country lanes. Applying for jobs entails being chained to your desk, attempting to make yourself sound appealing to employers, and sadly that means a lot of time inside. This coincided with the tiniest basement window possible and a lot of frustrated head bashing, meant I was in dire need of an escape.

I have, therefore, become intent on finding the best walks in London.

A bit of googling led me to Regent’s Canal, and after sitting in my dark little room for days, the serenity and openness of the place was heavenly.

Regent’s Canal is pretty long and you can follow it along for quite a while, but I started in the most popular starting point, Little Venice in Maida Vale (easily accessed from the Warwick Avenue tube station), and followed it along to Camden Lock, a busy market area filled with hot fried food and clothing stalls. That’s really only the beginning, but I am planning on returning and following it along until its end, where it meets the Thames.

One of the most interesting parts is where the path runs through the London Zoo and you pass under the overarching Aviary that is filled with large winged birds that swoop down close as you walk. There is also a little canal boat that can take you on a tour along Regent’s Canal for those who want something more relaxing. There are plenty of cafes and pretty shops along the canal, so take your time to explore the areas around.

I’m planning on exploring more, so If anyone knows any other walks in London, or nearby, I would love to hear about them!

Mansion on Regent's canal

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Autumn Fog

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Autumn tunnel

When it comes to autumn, I am as ‘basic’ as you can get. Cinnamon, coffee, jumpers, and of course the gem of autumn, the turning of the leaves, make me practically giddy with happiness.

I woke up on Sunday Morning to find that a heavy fog had descended over London. It was a beautiful contrast to the vivid reds and oranges of the autumn leaves so I ventured out of London to find the nearest forest I could find. To be honest, I have no idea where I actually ended up, but it makes a bit more magical that way doesn’t it?

Is there anything more atmospheric than fog? At home, fog captures images of ghost ships and a never-ending sea, but in London it feels almost like a Victorian era novel, with the narrow streets lined with grey buildings and dark silhouettes under street lights.

Autumn is certainly a contender for favourite season (I am an autumn child after all), but it’s always been bitter-sweet, for I know that the beauty of the trees are fleeting and there is little stopping the bleak colourless form of winter.

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