Cotswolds

Cotswolds
Cotswolds

Lake District

Lake District
Lake District

Ireland

Ireland
Ireland
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Birthday Shenanigans




















I turned 19 yesterday!! Yes, I am now in the final year of my teens with absolutely no idea where the last few years have gone! Life is really strange sometimes.

 I'm back home from university now, snuggled up in bed, recovering from an absolutely amazing birthday "weekend"  (actually from Sunday to Tuesday) courtesy of some of my very best friends from home.

 First of all, on the Sunday afternoon, myself and two of my friends left for a trip up the Antrim Coast  where we stayed in a little town called Castlerock which has a really beautiful beach that has been used as a filming location for Game of Thrones in the past. That evening we just chilled out, watched some movies and then went for a late-night walk on the beach (one of my favourite things!), then the next day got up early to go bodyboarding which was really really fun even though the water was freeeeezing! I think the warm shower that was waiting for me when we got back was probably the best shower of my life so far, no exaggeration. It was lush. 
After a spot of lunch we headed up to Downhil Demense and Mussenden Temple; property owned by the National Trust which sits high up on a cliff overlooking the sea. The views from here are absolutely spectacular. I'd say it's definitely one of my favourite scenic areas in Northern Ireland, it's truly stunning. We stayed there until the sun started to go down then headed back to the house for a late dinner before heading back home.

THEN, yesterday morning a group of us set off once again to Belfast Castle and after a little wander around the gardens we started out on a fairly strenuous hike up Cave Hill-  for which I definitely wasn't wearing sensible footwear- but it was well worth it in the end for the amazing view over the whole of Belfast from the top! I'd never been before so I was really glad I got to go yesterday. It's funny how little you see of the things on your doorstep sometimes.

Finally, last night I went for a meal in the city with a few of my friends from school who I hadn't seen in a few months since I'd been away. It was really lovely to see them and get to catch up before I head back to uni again. A perfect end to a perfect day!


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London Calling!


 






         



I just finished university for Easter a couple of weeks ago and was invited down to London for a few days by my friend Isabel who lives there for uni. I had a really lovely, relatively chilled few days in the city mostly just exploring and drinking many many cocktails. We didn't really do many tourist-y things this time around; I've been to London before and have made the typical visits to Westminster, Madame Tussauds, the London Eye etc. so it was really nice this time just to have a few days to wander about and get a proper feel for the city. We spent a full day dandering around Camden Market, spent a little time shopping and then on the last day we visited the Warner Brothers Studio Tour which was AMAZING. I can't wait to go back again soon!
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My Au Pair Experience | Summer 2013





I actually heard about this opportunity through a friend, who messaged me just before my exams ended explaining that she had been asked through school if she would consider spending the summer in Spain as an 'au pair'. For those of you who maybe aren't familiar with what an au pair is, it's basically a young person who travels to a foreign country and lives with a host family. Au pairs are normally required to look after the family's children, help around the house and sometimes also help the children to learn English or another language, as it was in my case. My friend wasn't able to do all the dates the family needed so we were going to divide the time between us, doing three weeks each. As it turned out, the family needed the au pair to start the following week and since I had agreed to do the first three weeks, letting go of all inhibition, I booked a return flight to the Basque region of Spain.










 At the time, I didn't really get a lot of time to think too much about what I was doing since I flew out three days after my exams finished. In retrospect, this was probably a good thing since I didn't really have time to over-think and stress myself out. I did, however, have time to read over a few articles and blog posts about the sorts of experiences other people had had working as au pairs, and was slightly disconcerted to discover just how many of these experiences had been negative. Some, in fact, seemed to be real horror stories- tales of people being sacked without notice, kicked out onto the street or even abused by their host families! I was very fortunate in that my host family were extremely warm, welcoming and understanding but I really think these stories are a testament to just how important it is to ensure you find your family from a reputable source and that you get as much background knowledge on your host family as you can before-hand. If possible, it may also be helpful to try and get feedback from other au pairs who have worked for the family in the past, just to make sure everything is OK and to get an idea of what to expect. 




For me, working as an au pair for a short time-scale was at times, challenging but also very rewarding. I didn't really get homesick as such but there were times when I felt very cut-off from the rest of the world since I didn't really get the opportunity to socialise outside of the family very much during my time there. As well as this, it could also be a very tiring job at times, having to speak a foreign language from the moment you wake up until you go to bed again (although you don't necessarily have to speak a foreign language to work as an au pair, it usually helps if you're planning to work in a non English-speaking country). Despite the various challenges I faced, however, I had an amazing time. Fortunately again for me, the children I was working with were two very lovely little girls who were great fun to be around, which just made my job so much easier.

Provided you've done your research, I would definitely recommend working as an au pair for anyone who is keen to have the real authentic experience of living within another culture. It's also a great way to improve your language skills and do something a little out of your comfort zone. I studied Spanish for A level but I definitely feel my language abilities improved a whole lot from my time there, short though it was.

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