Sunday, September 17, 2017

Barry Island, Big Pit, and Caldicot Castle

Well, due to no Internet, I have not been posting at all. Nothing about moving here has been easy. I’ve been thinking about blogging over the past couple Internet-less weeks, and I realized this year will be so fun to share with all of you. I don’t think a lot is going to change, but there will certainly be more travel posts! Today, for example, I’ll share some little trips I’ve been on with my roommates and the Canteach crew.

Barry Island

 After we got the house sorted out, the team (aka #thegroupoffive) decided to head out on a little day trip. The nice man from the train station had suggested going to Barry Island. It was a beautiful day, so we thought it was perfect. So did everyone else. The beach was absolutely packed with people.

We took a walk out to the cliffs and took a gazillion pictures. We have all become each other’s official photographers. It’s adorable.

We stopped for some fish and chips (obviously) before heading to the little theme park by the train station. It’s called Pleasure Park, and, yes, several inappropriate jokes were made. We all went on a couple rides. It was a great little afternoon.

Barry Island is a half hour train ride from Cardiff. If you have a chance and the weather is nice, definitely check it out.

Big Pit

The next two items came from our social day with Canteach. We were brought on a day trip to some really awesome places. The first trip was to Big Pit. It used to be a huge coal mining town. It was shut down a while ago, but they now run tours with men who used to work there. It was so different, and it’s not something you would think about doing by yourself.

I could not take any pictures since my camera was not allowed in the mines. The tour itself was fascinating. It’s so rare to get a tour of someone with the full experience. It was heartbreaking at some points (particularly when he mentioned the exploitation of children and animals) since there is a lot of dark things that happened down there. This career is stained with so much death.

Of course, there is a ghost story that freaked me the eff out. Just ask Abigail about how jumpy I was. I may or may not have grabbed her in an effort to protect myself.

The scenery outside was stunning. It was a great morning.

Caldicot Castle

This was obviously my favourite part. I opted to wander off by myself and discover every nook and cranny of the place. I found everything I possibly could.

It turns out they do weddings there, and I found the cute little banquet hall they hold functions in.

This is not the most authentic castle. It was done over in the Victorian era to suit the style of the guy who bought it. The coolest thing about it is that it was used as actual homes for families after WWII to meet with a housing crisis in the area. I internally (and maybe externally) freaked out about the fact that real people (meaning not royalty) actually lived there.

I love castles so much. I learned that Wales has the most castles per square mile in the world, so I need to make a list of all of those trips I need to take. I’m so excited for the rest of the year.

That’s it for now! I’ve done some major “adulting” the past few weeks. I’ve already learned so much, and I’ve made a couple points on my yearly “lessons learned” post. I’m feeling really happy overall. When I first got here, I was not. I missed home. I missed my room. I didn’t feel like myself. I had to get accustomed to being around people that are different from my friends at home. Part of me knows I still have a lot more settling in to do. This experience is completely different from my last move to the UK. I’ll get there, but this adjustment period will be longer.

How are you guys doing? Tell me about your most recent day trip! If you have any suggestions for day trips/weekend trips while I’m here, please share!


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monthly Favourites - August 2017

Here’s a real question for all you folks: what happened to August? How is it almost September? I really struggled to come up with my favourites this month because I can barely remember what actually happened. With some careful sleuthing of the pictures on my camera and Instagram, I have figured out what I did. Here are my August favourites:

1.       Haven’s Creamery

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@daniellaelyse), you won’t know about my obsession with this ice cream place from back home. I cannot tell you enough about it. It is amazing for so many reasons (locally sourced being one of them), but the reason I love it is because I can actually eat there with my allergy. I spoke to the owner on the phone before my first visit and then went two more times since. The owner actually knows me by name at this point. I am so disappointed that I discovered it two weeks before I left. However, I will be sure to visit when I go home for Christmas (even if there is four feet of snow!).

2.       Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

This novel is outstanding. It came with a list of award winning literature on a reading list for school, and I am entirely overjoyed that it was on my list. It is funny, heartwarming, emotional, and innocent. Consider this my mini-review. I got through so many YA novels, but it is this novel for children that stands out in my mind. It has been a while since I read a book this good. It is for sure going on my top five favourite books! I also love the idea of reading it out loud to children.

3.       First Class Train

I have mentioned this previously, but the trip to Cardiff was very up and down. Again, I will say that it is NOT worth it to travel by train with two large suitcases (times three because I was with two others). The one shining moment was the upgrade to first class. We got free tea and snacks. The seats were superb. The wifi was a savior. I will never be in first class again, so this was an amazing treat.

4.       Moving to Cardiff!

What can I really say about this? I’ve done more exploring, and I am starting to get more comfortable. I just cannot wait to really start exploring. Everything I’ve seen here has been so cute. I am so thankful that there aren’t as many hills as there were in Leeds! I know where my favourite stores are, and I have new places on my list.

5.       Finding a Place to Live

This is the first time I’ve moved out. Leeds doesn’t count because that was university accommodation. I was so overwhelmed and stressed about. The evidence of that is in the form of a massive pimple on my chin. The original plan was to move in with Kennedy and Erin. After talking with Abigail and Ericka on our first night, it was clear that the chance of finding a three bedroom place at a decent price was not high. Going to five people was a great decision. Two days after we all got there, we found the perfect place. I cried a little bit.

September will bring some exciting times. I have school that started today. My placements will start in a few weeks from now. I have a new house to move into that comes with a room to decorate. I can finally stop living out of suitcases. I am really looking forward to getting a routine established and unpacking. I already have some tabs for museums in Cardiff saved. I am so excited about this upcoming year!

What are you looking forward to in September?


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cardiff Updates

Shall I start this off with the good news? I HAVE A HOUSE! Before I get into that, I am going to start from the beginning. The entire journey here has been quite up and down.  It started in the most heartbreaking way that put a damper on the entire beginning of the trip. I met up with Ericka and Abigail in the airport, and it was all good from there. The flights themselves were alright. I caught up with Kennedy and Erin in London and we decided to take the train to Cardiff. TRAVEL TIP: Do NOT take the train with two massive suitcases. People will judge you for it. And it’s rather difficult.

Brilliant thing that happened #1: I made a friend at the train station. He’s one of the guys that blows a whistle at the train driver to tell him to go. We missed our first train, and I asked him what to take next. We got to talking, and it turns out he has been to Canada quite a few times. He gave us water bottles and upgraded us to first class! We did not belong there, and it was wonderful.

When we got to Cardiff, we talked about the living situation with Ericka and Abigail. They had been there earlier than us, and they had no luck with finding a place. They were all too expensive and underwhelming. As a result, we all decided to live together. Day one of flat finding was promising. We had a couple good options. We had more viewings booked today, and it was perfect. We found the most amazing place for the best deal. This was the most stressful part of coming people.

Last night, we found the cocktails!

Today, we went out for celebratory drinks.

All in all, here is what I have learned:

1)      Not everything is going to work out the way you expected it to.
2)      But sometimes, it all works out in the most perfect way.
3)      Jet-lag and lack of sleep contributes to irritability.
4)      Being Canadian gets you free things.

Stay tuned for pictures of the new place! I cannot wait to stop living out of suitcases. I’m not even 100% I’ll be able to find enough underwear to last me until Wednesday.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Monthly Favourites - July 2017

So this is a little late. I've had my monthly favourites list written on my white board forever. I'm also extremely passionate about a few of these products. July was all about working. I didn't do all that much other than work. That comes with its own set of problems which are solved by a couple of these products!

1. Vida Plus Bathing Suit from AdoreMe

 First of all, if you have boobs and you have not been measured, get them measured. It will change your life. Once I got measured, I started shopping at AdoreMe. It's a great online bra/lingerie/pj/bathing suit company. I always find the most amazing deals. I'm a VIP, so they send me a showroom every month. This showed up on it. This bathing suit is adorable. I have never been more excited to receive something in the mail. The shape is really flattering on me (sorry I didn't get any pictures of it on me). The straps at the back are cute, and it really is my favourite thing this month.

2. Overnight Oats

I made so many overnight oats in July. They are all going to make another appearance on a Pinterest Challenge post. I really love overnight oats as a grab and go breakfast. I've probably even said that before. I wish I had thought of this earlier in the year when I had a 6am shift. It would have been very helpful. I don't know what else there is to say about it. Highly suggest looking into this if you're busy but also don't like to wake up early to make a good breakfast.

3. Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

I received this product for free from Influenster. I don't get to wear makeup very often in the summer because I work at a pool, and I don't do anything else. I got this mascara, used it a few times, and I actually loved it. I am looking for reasons to put mascara on. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I like in a mascara. I already have long eyelashes, so I need a product that shows that off. I love the way it makes my eyelashes look. The bottle is not circular like other bottles, and that might be the best part. You can hold it so easily! I'm a huge fan of this mascara.

4. Buddy Coffee Scrub

I was given this as a gift back in April. I opened it, hated the smell, and barely touched it since. Now, I work at a pool. My skin is permanently dry. I needed a fix, and I needed one badly. Enter this coffee scrub. I love it. The smell reminds me of compost (because my family puts coffee grounds in the compost), but it has been a wonder for my skin. It's harsh, so I wouldn't suggest this for sensitive skin. Follow it up with your favourite moisturizer, and you're golden!

5. Wonder Woman

Have you seen this movie? The correct answer is yes. I loved it. I went with my parents, and I loved it. The only bad thing about it was the woman who sat beside me and wouldn't shut up. The action was great, the woman power was great, and the acting was great. I love reading all the articles about how this film has encouraged young girls around the world to be powerful. The world needs more films like this. I can hardly wait for the next movie!

I guess this month is all summer-themed. I cannot wait for the rest of August. Some BIG changes are coming in two weeks, and that will certainly be on my next favourites list. Things are going to be amazing.

What are your July favourites?