Donna H.

Category: Lifestyle

The Roaring Twenties!

Another day, another post.  Small procrastination from the fact I don’t understand cell proliferation, cell migration, cell differentiation, synaptogenesis, ocular columns OR synaptic rearrangement (oh god, someone please help – should not have picked that class!!)…

Friday night was Ross’ birthday… well not really, but he’s like the Queen, he has two every year.

This time was a 1920s themed subcrawl. Subcrawls are common in Glasgow and are exactly as they sound – like a pub crawl but down on the subway.

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The Glasgow subway is the simplest subway in the world (I think) – one route with an inner circle going in one direction and an outer circle going in the opposite. We skipped the South side (the wrong side of the river) where you can find some pretty dodgy pubs and just went from Kelvinhall to Buchanan Street hitting some lovely pubs en route. We then went to Polo, Glasgow’s best gay club.

It was a lovely night and I absolutely loved being dressed up 20s style. Would quite like to just stay there and not come back to 2014!

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This time last week…

I cannot believe how quickly this week has gone and how little I’ve achieved despite spending the majority of my time on uni work… Fourth year problems I suppose.  The most exciting parts of my week though were going to my favourite cinema GFT with my flatmate, Rosemary to see the cringey but wonderful Sunshine on Leith; going through to Edinburgh to see Ewan; lunch at with Sasha, Louise and Andrea and dinner at with Steven, Fiona and Ewan.

Today has been very boring as far as Sundays go, with the gym and lots of uni work. Last Sunday was much better with a super productive day ending with Sunday dinner with Eilidh and Ross which we all chipped in a cooked at Ross’ flat.

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Edinburgh, July 2013

Ewan and I are spending the summer apart as I’m home in Shetland working and staying with my family while he stays in Edinburgh for work. The week after the Rolling Stones I went to visit him, as well as to do some flathunting in Glasgow for next year.

Here are a few pictures from my trip mainly consisting of sunshine, cocktails and food!

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London, July 2013

It’s a whole month since I was in London and I still haven’t blogged it so here goes.

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We flew to Heathrow on the Thursday and I feel like we packed in a hell of a lot between Thursday and Sunday!  I just love how much there is to do in London.  I’ve been 4 times and had a totally different holiday each time.

This is our hotel – The Park Grand.  Don’t be fulled by it’s fancy exterior; it’s basically just a glorified Travelodge!

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We were there in the height of the heat wave so it was around 30 degrees the whole time which was great.  On the first day me and my parents had a Vietnamese lunch near our hotel and then sauntered around central London, had a few drinks in Leicester Square and went to China town for tea.

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imageMam and Dad checking out the cakes and pastries!

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 I managed to catch up with my friend Harry on the Friday.  We wandered around in the sunshine and had lunch al fresco in the park!  It was really nice to see him as we don’t get to see each other very often and he has just turned 21 and graduated from his theatre set & costume design course. 

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That evening, we went to Loch Fyne for our tea which was absolutely delicious but let down by the service.  It was obvious that they were in such a rush to get rid of us!  Our mains came while we were still eating our starters, they took food we weren’t finished eating and thrust the bill at us when we were going to order more drinks.  We the went to a bar across the road for some cocktails which I unfortunately can’t remember the name of!  The staff were lovely in there.  We then went to the theatre to see Fences which was so so good! It was in a small intimate theatre and is about a black family living in America in the 50s and I can’t recommend it enough.

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Saturday was the Rolling Stonesday (!!) then on Sunday we went to Notting Hill and Portobello market before heading to the airport.

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Unbelievably I didn’t buy a single thing  while we were there!! Very disappointed in myself. I did go shopping in Edinburgh though which is where I headed after London to spend a week with my boyfriend before going home again to work.  Blog post coming soon…

 I seem to have found myself with three summer jobs but hardly any shifts!  Hopefully it picks up as I am skint.  In the meantime here is a huge mishmash of what I’ve been doing in my joblessness, other than applications.

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I painted my nails with newspaper which was a lot easier than I expected. Here’s the WikiHow page I used. It honestly took no longer than normal nails!

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Lovely photo of Nanny and my brother’s friend Jim! My brother, his fiancee and my nephew are all home just now too so both my brothers and I had people over at the weekend before we went out. It used to always be so busy but since we all left home it’s been ridiculously quiet. It was good to have a houseful again!

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I’m going to paint my room and furniture over summer. Don’t think I like any of the samples I got but I’m thinking a mint green if I ever get started.

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Can’t get enough of Snapchat. I cannot quite describe how delicious Vimto lollies are. If you see them, buy them.

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These photos are an insult to how beautiful they really are but you cannot beat a Shetland sunset.

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I customised these shorts that I’ve had for about 5 years to cover up the edges which were starting to wear (no wonder!).

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Sunny skies on the way to work.

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Cooking up a veggie curry.

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I found this old magazine scrapbook I used to keep when I was about 16 because I was super cool!

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Lerwick by night.

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Trip to Fine Peerie Cakes with Lynn. (Shetland dialect for ‘nice little cakes’)  Had some butternut squash soup followed by a delicious chocolate banana cake!

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My brother, Kevin; his fiancee, Annika and my nephew, Lukas.  We went exploring!

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Hay’s Dock – Outside Mareel & the Museum in Lerwick.

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These photos are all from St Ninian’s Isle beach in the South end of Shetland which is the largest tombolo in the UK and where the St Ninian’s Isle treasure which is now in Edinburgh Museum was found.  Read all about it here!

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Hopefully my next posts will be less sporadic although I only find out each day if I’m working on that day with one of these jobs I’m doing which is pretty annoying and doesn’t allow me to make many plans!  It’s all about the money ca$h dolla though and it’ll be worth it when I’m in London in a few weeks and Munich in September! 🙂

Today Dad taught me how to clean and dress a crab, as well as languostines, scallops and mussels. Then we had a feast with mam, a delicious feast! This is what I love about being home. You can’t beat Shetland seafood.

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Throwback Thursday – Climbing Kilimanjaro

I always moan at my mam for not opening texts (and emails – her inbox is a MESS) so she always has a little message icon which really bothers me because although it’s all appointment reminders or spam that she doesn’t bother opening, it means she can miss important texts. So I was going through her messages last night deleting all the unopened nonsense. I got towards the end and realised she still had messages from 2011 and it was when I found this one that I was inspired to write this post: “I didn’t make it. 😦 I got to 1 hour and 15 minutes away. Pretty annoying after 4 days and 5 hours of hard trekking. Diabetes effed everything up as usual. I got a piggy back down though and got to hold hands with a beautiful black man! xx” Reading this I still found my eyes welling up but what really bothers me is if someone asks me if I made the summit, all I can really say is “No.” I can’t go into how in the first 4 days, despite having type 1 diabetes, not being particularly fit at the time and never having climbed a mountain before(!!), I was storming ahead loving every minute. I was up at the front the whole way through and two of the boys said that they were surprised I was the only girl that had been up the front with them the whole way (probably a backhanded compliment, as a lot of the other girls were a lot more sporty/active than me!). I was so proud of myself and felt a huge sense of achievement. I also loved it because of the people I was with and the beyond beautiful sights I saw. But why did I sign up in the first place?

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In my first year at university, I think I was the bravest I ever have been! Something about moving away from Shetland to the mainland, a remote island to a big city; moving into halls with a bunch of people I’d never met before; the transition from school to university and all the other changes involved with moving from home and going to university… It made me feel excited about life, like I could do anything.
One evening in halls, we were in the flat upstairs eating curry and playing multilingual Chinese whispers with the exchange students and two boys who we first assumed to be PRs came to the door. There were PRs from clubs over most nights so we weren’t expecting anything exciting from them. But these two boys turned out to be 2 of the group I’d travel to Africa with in September 2011. They told us they were planning to climb Kilimanjaro for Childreach International and were looking for a group to join them. A few days later me and my friend, Toria, went to an information meeting and the next thing I knew I was signing up online.

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When I told my family, I think they thought I’d lost the plot. I’ve always had a really keen interest in travel and want to see the world, but due to being skint 24/7 I hadn’t really been very far. I had never been outside Europe, plus, prior to this I hadn’t really been into anything outdoorsy, as I said before, I’d never climbed a mountain, mainly because Shetland doesn’t have any – lots of hills but no mountains! My nanny is the biggest worrier in the world and she was absolutely horrified.

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We flew to Kenya then drove through the border to Tanzania. The night we arrived at our hotel, before we started climbing the next day, I remember being terrified and thinking “what have I done?” The next day we got the bus to our starting point (which is already higher than Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain). We met our guides and they were the lovely, but the star of the show was Geoff. Geoff the chef. He woke us in the mornings with a hot drink and always started the day with a group rap of 50 cent “hey hey hey, go shawty!” When I returned to camp after I got ill on summit night it was Geoff I turned to. He gave me a cuddle then, as Geoff did best, he rapped! Unfortunatley I do not have a good picture of Geoff, but here he is mid-rap in some terrible lighting…

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On the climb we experienced all different weather and scenery. There was rain, sun, snow, sunburn, -20… extremes of all the seasons. And the scenery varied everyday, sometime it was moist and humid – rainforest-y, others the ground was so dry and there was no water to be seen. Then at the top of course, it was snowy and we had 5 or 6 layers and struggled to get changed and get out of our sleeping bags in the morning!

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Our meal times were super cute. We all crammed in round a table and ate whatever Geoff had russled up (usually soup and bread followed by spaghetti and “spaghetti sauce”). We were eating around 4000 calories a day to keep going which could be hard sometime as altitude can make you feel like eating is the last thing you want. We had hot drinks with tins of powdered milk which was actually surprisingly nice. We chatted with Geoff and got a talk from Jonas (another total legend) about what the next day of trekking would entail.

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I think Barranco wall was one of the scariest parts of the trek. It’s an 800ft “wall” and from the bottom it looks just like a vertical wall but once you get started there are more nooks and crannies than you expect to aid your climb! The guides consistently remind you to take it “pole, pole” (Swahili for ‘slowly, slowly’, pronounced ‘polay, polay’). But what’s really amazing is the porters!! They climb it quickly in their battered trainers carrying heavy bags for us on their backs. Amazing.

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To get used to the dropping oxygen levels, some nights when we got to camp, Jonas would take us on a small climb to a higher altitude then we’d do yoga to take deep breaths and take in the air. It was unbelievably relaxing. I’ve never felt anything like it.

We sung songs as we went to keep morale up (when we had enough breath), often Lion King songs – how cliché! I never realised how many words from the Lion King were Swahili e.g. simba – lion. Jonas used to always tell us we had to be “Imara kama simba” (‘strong like a lion’)

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One of my biggest disappointments of the trip (aside from not quite making the summit) was not having a good camera. Some of the group had SLRs with them and got great photos which we’ve all shared on Dropbox. I had a dirt cheap point and click that was on the verge of breaking. But I could barely afford the trip itself and spending money, never mind forking out for a DSLR. I still don’t have one but am currently saving up for a compact SLR, hopefully in time for my upcoming trip to Munich. I have little summer work at the moment so I’m trying to save the balance up on Paypal through selling on eBay! Fingers crossed.

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Richard sneaking into the background of the girls' photo!

Richard sneaking into the background of the girls’ photo!

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In writing this post, I nearly forgot to explain the reason behind it all! We were fundraising for a great charity called Childreach International. We each had to raise around £2,400 each which seemed monumental! Being from Shetland, I think it was easier to fundraise because of the sense of community. I got a lot through advertising on Facebook and Twitter and wrote to a lot of local businesses who were so so generous. We also had a club night in Glasgow to raise some as a group. Altogether we made almost £50,000! I am so so proud of that. The charity works for education, health care and child rights. They have lots of challenges and if you’re interested in doing something like this you should definitely have a look at their website.

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The trip was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. If anyone is considering it, I cannot recommend it enough! I actually want to go back and make the summit. I met a man in the hotel we stayed at before who had come back from doing just that – didn’t quite make it first time round so came back and tried again – and did it!

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If anyone else has climbed Kilimanjaro, I’d love to hear about your trips or if anyone has any questions about the trip, equipment, climbing with diabetes etc I’d love to answer them.

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Coming soon – the rest of my Tanzania experience: Moshi, visiting one of Childreach’s project schools, going on safari, the paradise island of Zanzibar!

The End of my 3rd Year…

So 5 boxes and a suitcase into my packing, I realised I didn’t have enough room for all my stuff.  How is it possible to gather so much rubbish over the course of a year?! I HATE PACKING.  It’s that time of year again.  I’m gathering all my wordly belongings together to leave Glasgow and head home to Shetland for the summer.  This is always something that makes me feel a mixture of excitement to go home, sadness to leave Glasgow and panic that another year is over.  But this time I’m feeling even more dramatic.  Because this may be the last summer I ever spend at home.  September marks the beginning of the 4th and final year of my undergraduate degree and then who knows what’s in store… I’m not ready for it to be nearing an end.  I love Glasgow.  I love being a student.  I love my long summers back in Shetland.  And I love going back to work in the little shop I have had a part time job at since I was 12.  I don’t want any of it to end.  (If I’m feeling this now, god knows how much of a drama queen I’ll be once 4th year is over)

Reflecting back on third year, it’s been a strange one.  I was telling my mam on the phone how Glasgow hadn’t quite been up to scratch for me this year since all my flatmates are gone.  I’ve been feeling a little bit lonely and sorry for myself.  But looking for photos for this blog post was nice because it made me realise I actually had a great year.

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I moved into my new flat in September.  There was 5 of us girls who shared last year.  We first met in halls and I’d now class the girls as some of my best friends.  Two of them did their third year abroad – Padova in Italy & Hong Kong! So the Cate, Anna and I, who were left in Glasgow were moving in together again for the year.  Because of illness and placement in London, the two of them also left Glasgow come 2nd semester which was why I was feeling pretty alone! There was no more spontaneous nights out, duvet days in front of the TV or just general chit chat whilst cooking my tea.  I hated living alone at first. But as time went on it grew on me then my course-mate Judith moved in with me a little while later. I still had my other Glasgow friends as well as Ewan coming through to see me/me visiting him in Edinburgh.  So it wasn’t all bad, just not quite the same.  

Halloween

I think winter is my favourite season. I absolutely love the sunshine and how happy it makes everyone but there’s something magical about Christmas lights, fireworks, hot drinks on a cold dark night and the number of parties that are thrown.

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Between that and the fact my flatmates were around, I think the first semester of 3rd year wins hands down!

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My birthday is in winter too so that helps! It was my 20th but soon after Christmas, it became the year of the 21st for our group of friends which has so far been great fun. Not a clue what I’ll do for mine yet.

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Another thing I love is the Christmas markets! I manage to spend a small fortune every year at the one in Glasgow at St Enoch Square. I just can’t help it with the mulled wine & cider, the pick n mix, the fake snow and most importantly – olives! Olives get me every time.

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While I was home at Christmas, The View came to play at Mareel, our new cinema and music venue in Shetland. I love them and we don’t usually get many famous bands up so it was pretty exciting and a great night.

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Auld Lang Syne at New Year. I was ill and on lots of medication so didn’t drink this year but ended up having the best New Year’s Eve I’ve had in a long time.
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My beautiful nephew, Lukas was born in January – definitely the highlight of my year.

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My brother playing a house gig in Edinburgh in the coolest house I’ve ever been in. If you like folk music then here are the links… Link to the band, Aamos’ page. My brother’s website. Here’s the Twitter page for the house that hosted the gig too, although I believe due to problems with the council they’ve had to find a new venue.

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Love me some pizza.

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This is my go to starter when I’m cooking for people now. Makes me look a bit posh when really it’s far from it! I use 2 glass dishes from Gu puddings – one for balsamic vinegar & olive oil and one for olives. The focaccia and the olives are both from Aldi so cheap as chips but tasty and well presented!

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As seen in my April posts (Here and here) I had a great time in Norway for my nephew’s christening over our Easter break.

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I’m always admiring the views on the train/bus when travelling around Scotland and I aim to see more of it next year. Ewan and I went to Oban last weekend to visit his Gran for her birthday. I hope to share my pictures from that with you soon, although they’re just taken on my phone. It was lovely and the scenery the whole way there was amazing – especially Inveraray and Connel.

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Pancakes – yum! My sister has started making pancakes every few weekends as my nieces and nephew loved them so much on Pancake Day. Pretty envious to say the least.

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Studying for final exams in both January & May was obviously the worst part of each semester but the January results paid off and hopefully the May ones have too! Fingers crossed.

So all in all, it’s fair to say I’ve had a pretty great year. Now here’s to a great summer too!

The Hidden Lane Tearoom, Glasgow

This post is about… wait for it… my new FAVOURITE cafe in Glasgow. The cutest little tearooms ever hidden down a little lane you’d never normally even notice. Hence the name.

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I’ve been training to volunteer with Glasgow Action for Mental Health – a fantastic organisation which I’m loving being a part of so far! Because I live in the city centre and my friend Ross lives in the lovely West End of Glasgow, I usually make him come to me. But as my training is right next door to his flat, I’ve been stomping on his territory. We decided to “go for a coffee” this Thursday and Ross suggested this place.

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It does table service which I’m a huge fan of. I think the whole coffee chain thing is a bit impersonal and not very charming. Unlike The Hidden Lane Tearoom. The Hidden Lane Tearoom has charm down to a ‘tea’ (See what I did there?!)
My pictures of Ross are a bit rubbish because of the window behind him but here’s him pondering over their menu of various teas and coffees, including teas I’d never seen before…

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This is me being indecisive about how to pose! Do I look at the camera?! Do I look at the menu?!

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The cafe is covered in lots of cute little details and decorations.

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Ross and I both went for scones, although it was a tough decision with loads of delicious looking cakes. I only realised there was Oreo brownies afterwards or I probably would have gone for them. But the scones did not disappoint! Ross went for a “London Fog” which is Earl Grey tea with steamed milk and vanilla. You can also get a Glasgow Fog in Glasgow, not in the tearooms though, which is a similar idea but with coconut I think. I had a chai tea with steamed milk.

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I was trying to get a good photo of Ross pouring his tea but he's not very good at it and spilled everywhere.

I was trying to get a good photo of Ross pouring his tea but he’s not very good at it and spilled everywhere.

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Don’t these cute cars just fit perfectly in the little lane?

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All in all – a lovely day out and a great break from this month’s constant revision.

You can read more about the Hidden Lane Tearoom (which was started by someone who got made redundant twice in one year) here!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

 

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This is me trying to be Asian! I decided on Asia for this week’s photo challenge because it’s probably the culture I try to copy most when I’m at home. Or at least when it comes to food. My kitchen is covered in rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil and so on. I’ve never been to Asia but I am dying to go. A friend from Penang in Malaysia says I should go and see where he’s from and I’d absolutely love to (It was him I took this photo to send to with the caption “How Asian am I?!” Haha I’m such a wannabe!).
The two places I was to go most though are Hanoi and Tokyo. Both of these come from when I was at school. When I was about 15 I was obsessed with Harajuku where all the cool Japanese kids hang out with their crazy styles! I used to stick pictures of them in a scrapbook I had and since then have become fixated on the idea of going to Tokyo. The Hanoi thing came about when I was doing Higher Art & Design. We had to do a design project and make mood board type things to base a piece of jewellery on. Mine was a necklace based on a junk ship. It was when researching these beautiful boats that I came across lots of pictures of Hanoi and my love grew from there.
For now this is all just a pipe dream with a £10 a month deposit going into my “Travel” account! But one day I’ll go…