Sunday, 11 March 2018

Making More Of An Effort Offline

I met up with my friend Alex on Friday after not seeing him for almost a year. We'd planned to meet for drinks on on far too many occasions but in the end one of us would always fathom an excuse and bail. Over time, we'd drop each other Facebook messages, exchange likes on Instagram and reply to each others Snapchats but ultimately, when it came to meeting up in person, quite frankly, neither of us could be arsed. 

So on Friday, whilst sitting in the bar laughing and catching up, I got thinking about a Zoella Q&A I watched last week (Skip to 12:33). I thought, the reason neither of us could be arsed meeting up despite living no more than 10 miles apart was because we already felt like we'd caught up because of what we'd seen online. The more we chatted, I realised I already knew about his trips away over the past year and gigs he'd been to, he knew about my promotion and even who I had round for Christmas dinner. 

For almost a year, we'd managed to fool ourselves into thinking we were great at keeping in touch but as the cocktails kept coming, we started to realize that we'd been neglecting our friendship massively. 

Then, I started thinking back to my birthday on Tuesday. Some friends and family wrote on my Facebook to wish me well but as I read through each one liking them aimlessly, I noticed that there were some people that hadn't posted. I don't know what's worse. That they'd seen it was my birthday and chosen to ignore it or that they didn't know it was my birthday because they hadn't been on Facebook. Do you see what I mean?

Either way, it makes me a little sad that we rely so heavily on social media to inform us of these things - Myself included. I have no idea when my sister-in-laws birthday is and it's just occurred to my that I didn't even ask her about her trip to Dubai because I'd seen it plastered over her social media pages.  

I'm not naive,  I know full well we live in an online world that advances everyday and for the most part, it's great. I've made some amazing friendships online and managed to keep in touch with those who I can't see everyday. The thing is, I no-longer want social media perusing to be my poor excuse for communication. 

I'm not trying to imply that we should give up social media, quit posting online or stop communicating through the internet all together. What I'm saying is I don't want to scroll aimlessly not conversing, not engaging - I no longer want to sit back, make assumptions or just be damn right lazy. 

I don't want to feel like I'm catching up with someone when I haven't really seen or spoken to them. I want to more of an effort to meet up in person or even just pick up the phone. My friend Ben and I caught up over some tea and biscuits back in February - He's been to San Francisco with his boyfriend since and the most I've heard is the mini review he sent to my work email. I don't think I even replied - Why didn't I just call to ask how the trip was?

Also, I want to stop making assumptions - I don't want to assume who went for drinks with who or who's sleeping together purely based on what I see on social media. We've all done it and besides the odd Sherlock Holmes feeling, we mostly assume loads of shit and find out it wasn't true anyway. 

I know that this must seem very dramatic and slightly woe-is-me but after having such a good night with Alex, I kind of forgot what it's like to have fun and really connect with people, not just hope that someone replies to my Snapchat story to ask how my day was. 

What are your thoughts on online and offline communication? How do you keep a balance?


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

What To Eat, Drink + Do If You Visit St Andrews

What To Do, Eat + Drink If You Visit St Andrews
If you follow my Instagram and aren't sick of my constant love for a Boomerang, you'll know that I spent the past few days in St Andrews. We headed up there on Sunday morning ahead of my birthday to catch up my cousin and soak up all the great things St Andrews had to offer before she graduates this summer. Despite the awful weather, we managed to fit so much in to just a few days and I couldn't wait to share it all with you. In a nutshell, the town is absolutely adorable, rich in history and full of super lovely students. 

St Salvators Hall St Andrews is a university town and probably the most notable halls of residence is St Salvators Hall. Not only are they the halls where Kate and Wills stayed during their time at uni, but they're also super traditional with shared bedrooms and High Table dinners every week - I just love everything about it. 

The Quad One of the oldest parts of the university and the hub for most uni events and rights of passage including the 'Raisin Monday' foam fight - How is that even a thing? Nearby is also the famous PH which students will never - legit never - step on. It marks the spot where Patrick Hamilton who was tried for practicing religious heresy was burned at the stake. Watching people avoid walking on it is actually hilarious but I love that they still follow old traditions. It's also worth noting people that do step on the PH do the 'May Dip' which is basically running into the sea at sunrise on May 1st to 'rid the curse'. 

St Mary's Quad Another university quad with a thorn said to be planted by Mary Queen of Scots. Pretty cool and worth a look. 

Eden Mill Tour If you're a gin lover then the Eden Mills distillery would be a great activity to pop on your to-do list. It's £10 and can be booked online - Unfortunately they were fully booked for our visit but to be honest, I'd go back just for that. 

St Andrews Cathedral I'm a sucker for ruins and since the cathedral is the largest medieval church in Scotland, on just about every travel site, postcard and Instagram hashtag, I knew it was worth the visit. It's ridiculously picturesque, even more so in the sunshine and also has a bell tower offering views over the sea. 
What To Do, Eat + Drink If You Visit St Andrews

St Andrews Brewing Company A fab little pub offering 15+ craft beers, 20+ craft gins and host of classic board games. This place was so welcoming and full of friendly faces that I could have sat there all evening sampling the gins on offer. Well worth a visit and offers souvenir t-shirts!

Old Union Cafe An intimate little cafe with walls dedicated to past university rectors. It's inspiring to see how many students go there to work and that actually offer a mean coffee too. 

Mamacita After hearing someone say 'The best margaritas I've ever had', I added this place straight on to my to do list. They carry around 25 tequilas and the classic margarita was so good that I had three. They also offer frozen margaritas and a bunch of Mexican street food.
What To Do, Eat + Drink If You Visit St Andrews

Northpoint Cafe Also known as the cafe where Kate met Wills (for coffee). It's the cutest little cafe but tends to be a little busy in the mornings. We actually managed to get in for birthday brunch - The all day breakfast was delicious and comes with the fluffiest pancakes and maple syrup. 

Ziggys I booked Ziggys so far ahead of our visit because it looked right up my street. The staff were super friendly and the food was to die for, especially the garlic prawns.

The Vic We headed to The Vic after asking my cousin for somewhere chill but with really great food - She was absolutely right. The three of us opted for the chorizo burger and it was bloody delicious. This place also has a lounge & social club for drinks in the evening. 
What To Do, Eat + Drink If You Visit St Andrews

There are a whole host of hotels, B&B's and also AirBnb's around St Andrews. We stayed with my cousin but websites like Trivago & list all of the popular places to rest your sleepy head. 

I'd love to know if you've visited St Andrews before or if you'd visit in future. I'd LOVE to go back in the summer. 


We actually got lost on the way back - After a wrong turn on my part, our satnav took us down a bunch of B roads which were still full of snow and water for no particular reason. After crying and finally getting back on track, it then took us off route again, down more ridiculous B roads to cut out part of the main road. I cried again. 

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