being a tourist in your own city

The best way to explore the city you live in is to have friends or family from elsewhere to come and visit you…

Last weekend my two childhood best friends came up from Birmingham to visit me in Manchester, and in typical Maddie fashion I was panicking about planning out the perfect weekend for them, but really I knew they’d be happy to do anything so long as we got to have a good gossip!!

A trip to my closest coffee shop, Esquires, got us fuelled up on tasty salads and avo on toast ready to brace a very rainy and windy Manchester.

What was supposed to be a slow wander around the Arndale (I’m kidding, there’s no such thing on a Saturday lunch time) quickly turned into getting caught up in the Halloween in the City celebrations, surrounded by a marching band performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and dancers on stilts dressed as all things spooky. Although slightly overwhelming, it really reminded me of the spirit of Manchester and the reason I fell in love with this place 3 years ago. I adored how busy it was, how wherever you looked there would be something else equally as captivating going on.

We walked around until the cold felt too bitter, and headed back to my place where we gossiped and listened to the busy roads around us but felt as cosy as could be in my new student room.

As evening fast approached, we braved the cold and made our way over to V Revs where we were greeted by the most extensive vegan restaurant anyone could wish for! I’ve been before hence why I decided here for the evening meal, but was still worried that my vegan bestie wouldn’t be as impressed as I was…boy was I wrong! Never have I ever seen someone so conflicted as to what to get off a menu, because she just had so much choice which is unheard of for the modern day vegan who loves to eat out but are usually restricted to a couple of choices. After much deliberation we ordered food, took in the décor and got real life heart eyes over the odd dog that came in with their owner.

When the food arrived my vegan bestie couldn’t quite believe what she was eating was vegan saying she felt like she was cheating her veganism (she wasn’t – the whole restaurant truly is vegan!!). So I felt accomplished if I am honest!

The evening ended with all four of us cooped up in my room playing Manchester edition Monoply (obviously), and for the first time in a long time I lost…but moving swiftly on (not a sore loser I swear…).

Sunday morning with friends over means going out for brunch, right? We ended up in the same cafe as the day before, indulging in breakfast and coffee, feeling super cosy indoors despite the drizzly weather outside.

We took a walk into town and stopped by the Halloween in the City celebrations once again, this time it was a dog parade! From what we could see it was cute but I wasn’t wearing my glasses (shock), and then the heavens opened so we ran home instead and just had a big old chill out before it was time to catch their train home.

I loved having my friends here for many reasons. How bloody amazing does it feel to see two of your closest friends after time apart?! When they left I actually felt a little homesick, which is weird because generally speaking I don’t miss Birmingham, and for the most part whenever I’m there, I want to be back in Manchester!

Having them over made me make the most of a weekend for the first time in forever. My weekends usually consist of either being in Huddersfield or Manchester, getting uni and house work done, and getting a hefty food shop done. But taking time out this weekend, and still managing to do those things too made me realise that I need to start going out and enjoying this city that I’m living in, because in all honesty, I adore it here, and I won’t be here for too much longer which does truly break my heart.

What is your favourite thing about the place that you call home? Mine has the be the hustle and bustle of Manchester. For me it’s the one place that you can really make yourself into who you want to be, there’s no judgement and you can really live life how you want…

All the best,

Maddie

xxx

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June 2018

June has just involved a whole lot of back and forth between Manchester, Huddersfield and Birmingham but I wouldn’t change it at all!


The month kicked off with Toby Burton’s EP launch at The Parish in Huddersfield. Toby is the first artist that Max and I worked with for In Session so we naturally wanted to go and show our support. The gig was great and we picked up one of his EP’s, although you can listen to it on Spotify and I’d really recommend it because he is such a talented songwriter and performer.

The following day Max and I got the train into Leeds to spend our Wagamama’s voucher and have a wander around the record stores. There was a cute dog on the train back so obviously that day was a 10/10.


I went home and started a new job, just a Summer job picking up a few hours here and there at my mom’s office doing odd jobs and filing, but it’s been keeping me busy whilst at home which is always a plus.


Jumping in the car with Max’s parents to spend a bit of time with them in Huddersfield was lovely, before getting on the train to Manchester to see Taylor Swift at the Etihad. Honestly I’d never been a big fan of hers but seeing her live has changed my opinion highly! I happened to go by chance, but if you ever get the opportunity to see her I would beyond recommend it and I’m looking forward already to when she next tours again!

Back to Huddersfield the following day, I spent the beautifully sunny afternoon with Max and Peter, having a drink in Greenhead park and a good chin wag. We also walked by Max’s new house that he’ll be moving into next month so it was good to get an idea of the area he’s living in.

Once again, back on a train to Manchester, this time with Max, to see Haim at the Apollo, and it was incredible! I saw them last in 2014 at Glastonbury and I was obsessed, so it was amazing to see how much they’ve changed (for the better) over the years. They played a good amount of their old songs too rather than just the whole of the new album so that was refreshing!

The following evening was spent in A&E due to my worst endometriosis flare up since my surgery last September. It was a bit disheartening that this has happened again, however the doctors were lovely and very understanding, I was prescribed a lot stronger pain relief and they gave me a clear plan of what to do if this pursues.

A few days of bed rest was made better by meeting up with Max, Chris, Henry and Matt after a training day for their new job (suddenly ruined by me being sick in the toilets *classy* and having to go home).


Back to Manchester again but this time to walk across the city with some amazing people for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. The weather just about held dry, and it was just lovely seeing everyone again and being able to raise some money and awareness for a really important cause.

You can find more information as to why we did this walk, and donate money too, here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ibd-warriors-walk-it-manchester-2018


We had a chill few days in Huddersfield, Max took a couple days off work too which was really lovely as we got a proper chance to have some us time and relax a little!

Our 4th anniversary rolled around and we celebrated with a lie in, a walk into town fuelled by coffee, and an evening date night at Lala’s Indian (incredible, 10/10 would recommend).

The following day was spent pottering around The Piece Hall in Halifax, but I’m going to do a whole other blog post on that so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon!


I went back to Birmingham but only two days at work before going to the caravan in Bournemouth with my parents and Lady. This was Lady’s first time at the caravan, but also her first ever trip to the beach and seaside!

(It should be noted that I’m currently writing this in 30 degree heat, on the veranda of the caravan with a beer in hand – cheers!)

She has been so good, I was worried at first because she’s so nervous around other dogs, but I think as it’s a whole new place to her she’s just focussed on taking it all in rather than crying at other dogs haha.

The weather has been incredible, as previously mentioned, so each day has been spent trying to get out and do stuff as early as possible to avoid being out in the heat of the day, chilling during the middle of the day then going to the beach for a walk in the evenings.

Honestly I wasn’t sure about coming away, as much as I adore spending time with my parents, like every twenty-something, I need my space too, but this has been a perfect combination of the two which has been very pleasant and not at all suspected.


My month ended the best way possible, Max came home for the weekend and I got to see Erin and Gina too! It’s so difficult trying to find time to see the girls, as they live here and for the past two years I’ve not left Manchester for longer than a week (until now). But even now that I’m back we all still have so many commitments, Gina is smashing it at work and Erin is somehow balancing working full time and being in a really cool band, playing festivals all Summer! So it is really treasured when we do get to spend time together, especially because it is so few and far between.


It wouldn’t be a monthly without some faves so here goes:

Album / Playlist: My role at work means I basically lock myself in a room for hours on end sorting files, which can send you a lil stir crazy as I’m sure you could imagine, so I needed some motivational music to get me through, and the album I am constantly going back to is “Death of a Bachelor”, which is a massive revisit, however the more I think about it, it’s definitely in my top 5 albums.

Song: Although June has been the month of all months for new releases, The 1975’s new track “Give Yourself A Try” was top of my priorities and it did not disappoint!

TV / Movie: I binged hard on TV this month after all of my deadlines were out of the way, but my favourite has to be Hollyoaks, it has covered so many important topics these past few months and it’s amazing to see the hard work and dedication put into portraying them excellently and accurately.

Place: The caravan, it’s the home of a million of my childhood memories and I love being in my 20s and still enjoying it and making more memories!

Memory: Taking my gorgeous doggy for her first seaside holiday.

Accomplishment: Getting into the swing of having a job again!

Journaling Maddie x

March 2018

I swear once January is out of the way, the year just flies by!

The first half of March was massively taken over by 2nd year deadlines (fun fun fun!), and I’ve since got all of my results for the year so far and I’ve done p. well so I’m happy!!

Trav turned 25 (official old man), and Amy hosted the most incredible surprise birthday party for him at Cane and Grain in Manchester NQ. It was so nice to see everyone and Max came over too which was great fun! A night of cocktails and good music, before going home (of course with a detour to McDonalds) and having a great nights sleep, feeling refreshed the next morning! The four of us spent said following day watching crappy movies on Now TV and went for a little walk just to get out of the flat.

I have become obsessed with Sims, it is official.

I’m making the most of playing it now while I’ve got a couple of weeks before I need to throw myself into uni work again. The best part is, we all play it, so evenings in our flat are completely unsociable!

I hopped on a train to Huddersfield to spend the weekend with Max, which was lovely, as always! Sara video called us on Friday night and we had way too much fun with the filters you can get on Facebook video chat.

Max took me into his work to show me some recordings he’s been working on for In Session. It’s such a bittersweet feeling being sat in his work place office which is a recording studio. I went to college and studied music technology and I honestly intended on going to uni to follow my dreams of being a live sound engineer or working in a studio as a producer, but instead decided to follow the management route. Going to see Max in his workplace makes me somewhat jealous that I’m not doing the same, but on the other hand I’ve gained so much managerial knowledge over the past few years that maybe one day I will be able to combine the two – who knows!

As always, we grabbed coffees at Espresso Corner. Sunday was spent in Marsden (a neighbouring village), having a wander around and grabbing Sunday lunch at Mozzarella (10/10 would recommend).

Bonus pic of a cute dachshund in a car at the train station:

Amy got her hair cut and I was a good pal and went with her for emotional support haha. Also the hairdresser had the most beaut boots I’ve ever seen.

Term 2 finished and I honestly can’t get my head around that. I get a couple weeks off before term 3 but before I know it second year will be over and I’ll be graduating in a years time!

I WENT HOME!! I can’t actually remember the last time I visited home, so it was really chill to just have some time alone. I got the hair chop that I’ve been wanting for the longest time – it feels so good to have it all gone!

My best friend, Erin, is in one of the coolest bands around (I may be slightly biased, but not too biased as they really are freaking incredible) and they pulled off the most insane single launch at the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham! I honestly felt like I was 16 again – reliving Saturday nights at the Sunny watching some cool bands. Odd mix of feelings of nostalgia and feeling really, really old.

My parents very kindly brought me back up to Manchester, so I showed them around where I’ll be living from September, and I am so glad that they love it – particularly my mom!

I jumped on a train to Huddersfield to spend a couple days with Max & have some quality time together. We watched Zootropolis, started Greys Anatomy from the beginning (Max hasn’t seen the whole thing), went to a gig at a new venue called Northern Quarter (getting serious country western vibes), baked brownies and had cuddle time.

Let’s talk about TV. Teen Mom UK and Teen Mom OG have come back this month with new series (if you say that you don’t watch any of these you’re either lying or you need to start watching them), some great films (Pitch Perfect & Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) have been floating around on catch up, and so much more trash TV (Five Star Hotel, Celebs Go Dating, Our First Gay Summer, Izbia Weekender etc. etc., I’m sure you get the drift!). I have lost count of how long Amy & I spent catching up on all of these shows whilst bashing out our work for term 3.

In case you can’t already tell, this month has been a lot of back and forth for Max (mainly Max coming to Manchester, it somehow fell that I wasn’t doing as much travelling this month yay)!

Lydia came to visit with Tom and they ever so kindly took us for a day out at the Trafford Centre, I finally had a Wagamamas – I know, I am so late to the party – and it was so so good, I am officially on the bandwagon!

We had a long traipse around the shops and Lyd treated me to the most gorgeous Summer dress (so granny-chic) that I fell in love with, I can imagine myself in it, lightly tanned on the beach with a glass of Sangria (a gal can dream).

Cinema pick was mine this month – it’s super rare that I want to go and see anything – I kept seeing ads for Unsane, was really captivated by the story line, and the fact the whole thing was filmed on an iPhone intrigued me even further. We went to see it a couple of days ago and maaaaan was it intense! I would defo recommend it.

March has been crazy for me – I hope you’ve had a fabulous one!

Journaling Maddie x

August; please can you just slow down a little?!

Long time no post!

August has been on the hectic side, to say the least.

It honestly feels like I’ve not had time to just sit back and take it all in so I’m taking a rare non-busy day to reflect on the month so far.

Although it has been crazy busy and jam packed, I’ve been having so much fun with everything that’s been going on!

1st-2nd August:

These few days were spent catching up with the bloody lovely Amy and Travis! I’d not seen them for around a month whilst they were travelling around Thailand and it was so nice to have a good old nitter natter about their travels and a few glasses* of wine.

*maybe bottles

 

3rd August:

I went home today, back to Birmingham. It was only a flying visit, but it was really nice to spend part of the evening with my parents, Max, my sister and her boyfriend Tom. We went to Pesto which is an Italian tapas restaurant.

Later in the evening we went into town to meet with Curtis, Max’s best friend since pretty much forever! We had a nice surprise that some of the other guys came to meet us too, some, including Curtis, we haven’t seen since New Years.

It’s always a good time hanging out with this lot because it’s so effortless and we always have plenty to catch up on!

 

4th-7th August:

Max and I went to 110 Above Festival this weekend! It was super fun and got me in the proper “camping, drinking, getting no sleep” kinda festival mood, but unfortunately this is the only one we are attending this year. I’m gonna do a whole post all about this weekend because I have so much to ramble on about, and plenty of photos to share!

 

8th August:

Another flying visit home, we spent most of this day having a massive lie in to recover from the weekend at 110! When we finally surfaced we grabbed some lunch and packed for our upcoming trip to Manchester.

In the evening we went over to my Nan & Granddad’s house as it was my Uncle Paul’s birthday, so we did the classic Chinese takeout and birthday cake sort of evening with the family, which was really special to me because I got to spend time with my cousin Oli, his girlfriend who I’d not met before, my grandparents and my uncle, all who I very rarely see since moving to Manchester.

 

 

9th August:

This was potentially the most stressful morning of my life. Max accidentally ordered double the amount of train tickets than we actually needed so we were trying to clean up that mess, whilst also getting all our shit in the back of my dad’s car (we packed way too much – shock!) and getting to the train station on time to make sure we didn’t miss our connecting train from Birmingham to Manchester!

We managed to successfully pull it all off – no idea how mind you – and got into my flat just before the rain started chucking it down!

After this we had a lazy 24 hours: dyed my hair like a my little pony, sleeping, eating and catching up on Game of Thrones (finally!).

 

 

10th August:

Amy came home with an absolute hair disaster. For some reason the hairdresser she went to see did the complete opposite of what she wanted and thought that was an okay thing to do!

So we spent this evening, all four of us (Amy, Trav, Max and myself), in Amy’s bedroom drinking and whilst the lads did boring admin laptop stuff, I bleached Amy’s hair twice before deciding to call it a night!

 

11th August:

The hair rescue mission continued today, with one more bleach and a colour attempt (which didn’t go as planned).

 

12th August:

Amy & I got up early and took a trip to Superdrug to find a different hair dye before today’s festivities begun. We picked up a box of Blue Mercury, and went back to the flat to speed dye the rest of Amy’s hair, just to get 3/4 of the way through to realise we didn’t have enough dye!

So I ran back out to Superdrug, my hands covered and stained by blue dye, wearing the most miss-matched lazy outfit – the looks I got were intense haha, to grab another box.

Somehow, and I’m really not sure how, we managed to pull it off and dye Amy’s hair and get ready for a day of festivals all in a matter of hours, with plenty of time to spare!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before, but Amy’s boyfriend Travis is the lead singer of an absolutely fabulous band called The Bright Black (and you should definitely click the link and give them a listen)! Anyway, the band were playing 2 festivals on this day, the first being in Rochdale and the second in Hebden Bridge.

Hande (the girlfriend of Sam from the band) met us at our flat then we all piled into Amy’s car and drove to Rochdale for the first festival. It was such a cute set up, I think free festivals are such a great idea for the community, especially being family friendly fun in the summer hols!

We had a few hours to kill so had a walk around the site and eventually settled on sitting in Yates’ for a few drinks and some food before the band took to the stage.

6pm rolled around and the guys got on stage and played an awesome set, the man who introduced them said that they in fact played last year too and so many people emailed the council asking them to come back and play the following year, and the only band to play two years in a row!

After the Rochdale Feelgood Festival, we all piled back into the cars and Amy drove us to Hebden Bridge. The drive was so pretty but didn’t half feel like we were in the middle of absolutely nowhere, the views were stunning though!

This venue was so stuffy, it was like the oxygen levels were just non-existent! This gig was great though, it was for Pride and it was so nice to be in a room full of people celebrating something so so important!

The guys played another great set, and then we stuck around to watch the last band, before once again piling into the car and finally getting back to Manchester around 1am!

Such a bloody long day but had the best time!!

 

13th August:

Today is my “I have a few hours to sit down and do nothing so I should probably blog”day. Amy is a total trooper and set off early this morning to start her new job, I had a bit of a lie in but started to feel a lil gross so got up showered and ate, Trav has just got back from shopping and Max has just surfaced from bed.

So a lazy afternoon from here on out I think, I have lots of photos to go through and edit from the past few weeks, but that’s all I really want to achieve today. Later on this evening I believe the four of us are heading to The Knott to have a Sunday roast!

 

(Edit: the roast was incredible)

I hope the rest of August is this jam packed, it has been exhausting but I’ve made some pretty bloody lovely memories so far! August, if you could slow down a tad then that would be fab, I’m starting to get Summer blues already and it’s not even over yet!

 

M x

 

 

July in photos 

July has been a rather pleasant month! It has been really busy, and I decided to add to that factor by starting my online journal. I feel like I have accomplished many things in July, as well as tackling lows and highs, enjoying a well deserved break, having alone time and precious time spent with family and friends.

Pre-warning – this photo log is 90% holiday snaps!

 

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Me & Lyds at her graduation

 

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best graduation photo ever??

 

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Brownsea Island

 

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long doggo

 

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noisy lobster breakfast date

 

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Brownsea Island (I'm not the best at smiling haha)

 

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Starbucks date

 

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Brownsea Island

 

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my love

 

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beach walks

 

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evening stroll

 

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Durdle Door

 

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we got up at 4am to watch the sunrise and it did not disappoint

 

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my beautiful sister at her graduation

 

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my pup

 

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curry night with the guys

 

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post curry night

 

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ferry to Brownsea!

 

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that view!

 

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what even is my boyfriend?

 

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chips and coffee stop at Sandbanks

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sunrise

 

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so so pretty

 

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is it really me if I don't have a trip to A&E?

 

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watching the sun change from my favourite spot in the apartment

 

M x

April in photos

I think I spent a solid 2/3 of this month very, very drunk – apologies in advance for this photo series!

 

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my two princesses

 

 

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jack daniels slush puppy 10/10 would recommend

 

 

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mcr

 

 

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G // Sutton Park (Max’s film photo, Extar 100)

 

 

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Jimmy’s

 

 

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sister sister

 

 

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Tetley // Leeds 17757426_10155106833488398_4150174454900738392_nAmy

 

 

 

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Max

 

 

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(drunk…again?)

 

 

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my favourite little thing

 

M x

July 15 – a funeral, a graduation and a lot of wine

Boy oh boy has it been a long week!

Starting with the journey from Manchester to Birmingham, leaving myself less than 24 hours to get ready for Essex, this has been one hectic week.

Max drove us down to Essex on Monday as it was his granddad’s funeral on the Tuesday morning. The funeral was sad, as you’d imagine, but it was also so beautifully done with a lovely group of important people to the family in attendance, a bugler performing The Last Post and a fitting tribute from Max’s dad.

The wake was incredible, Max had dug out some old slide film and standard 8 films full of beautiful family memories from when his father was a child, so we all sat around and watched the home movies, and looking through the slide films, whilst people ate, drank and shared happy memories of Max’s granddad.

So the week started off emotionally draining that’s for sure, with a jam packed 3 days in Essex sorting bits and bobs out at the bungalow.

We arrived back in Birmingham on Wednesday evening faced with the task of what to wear to my sister’s graduation. Whatever I put on that I liked my mom said “not quite right” or “no definitely not that one”, so we settled for a dress that she loved and I had lukewarm feelings towards – but never mind!

Bright and early on Thursday morning Max and I got up and started to get ready, having to eat our lunch at 10:30am as that was the last opportunity we’d have to eat before 6:30pm (something that wouldn’t phase me but I was worried how Max was going to go 8 hours without eating anything)! We got into our “smarts” and got on the train with my nan from Tamworth to Derby, where the ceremony would be taking place.

Max and I got our tickets very last minute so had received balcony tickets, but when we arrived they said for us to try and find spare seats in the main hall, because we were the only two sat up there!! The staff were so accommodating and they kept laughing and joking saying they’d been waiting for us and that we would get the best personal treatment with them as it was only us hahaha. But thankfully we found some seats in the main hall so that we could actually see my sister graduate!

The ceremony wasn’t as long as I thought it would be, however my hands got tired very fast after clapping for a few hundred graduates. When it was finally my sister’s turn, the tension was building, she was worried she was going to trip and fall etc., but no, she handled it incredibly well, a flawless walk across the stage, but the guy announcing the names pronounced her name wrong!! How?! I could maybe see getting confused with the first name “Lydia”, but “Parsons”?!?! Really?! How do you mispronounce Parsons??

Regardless of the name blunder, we had a fantastic day, took lots of photos (many of which will feature in my July photo series I’m sure) and had an amazing meal at Fat Cat, well worth waiting 8 hours for, and one too many cocktails (but they were just so good!!) with the family, and the families of Lydia’s two best friends from uni!

We went home and crashed out haha! We were absolutely ruined, so so tired, but allowed ourselves a little lie in on Friday morning, surfacing and going into town to grab some food and drink for the weekend.

I had not seen my two closest school friends for about 4 or 5 months, which is really rubbish and we find it so hard to catch up often with me being in Manchester, G being in Birmingham working hard for her families company, and Erin being a total rockstar at the moment absolutely smashing festival season! So we all managed to free an evening for a long awaited catch up!

Max and I hosted the evening and had the girls around and made food and brought lots of wine (which mainly got drunk by me and Erin haha). It was so nice just to sit and talk for hours, eating good food and drinking cheap wine, with some amazing company!

Last night again we totally crashed out, exhausted after the long day we’d had.

Waking up this morning, I have another list as long as my arm to complete:

  1. Clean up from last nights festivities
  2. Walk Lady (my dog)
  3. Start packing to go to Bournemouth!!
  4. Wake Max up (it’s alright for some, I’ve been up since 6am!)
  5. Plan things we want to do when we get to Bournemouth
  6. Fake tan (not essential, but kinda essential)
  7. Plan and schedule blogs for the next week or so as I will be without internet
  8. Meet up with more people before Monday
  9. Find my camera charger (oops)

 

I hope you have had a lovely week, and I hope even more that it wasn’t as hectic as mine!

M x