Inside the Cafes of Manchester’s NQ

We all know dissertation writing can be a bit horrible at times, so to escape the restrictions  and pressures of final year life, I have yet again taken up my hobby of visiting and surveying coffee shops. This time, those cafes located in Manchester’s legendary Northern Quarter.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to take a visiting guest, somewhere to indulge in the best cake, or somewhere to tuck yourself away to study, I think I have a place suited for you below. I hope the following blog post is of use to those who love all things cafe and cake related as much as I do.

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This is me

The following is a piece I wrote for my church’s blog shortly detailing a small segment of my testimony. If you’re interested, give it a read. I have also included at the bottom the links to the posts a few of my friends have also shared of their testimonies. Enjoy!

“When I was younger, I thought being part of a Christian family was annoying. I had to wake up far too early for church on Sundays, and I had to be well behaved at home which, in my teenage years, I was anything but successful at. Now, looking back, I couldn’t be more thankful for my family’s efforts in nurturing me on my own journey with faith. Continue reading

Looking back, and looking ahead

A big hello and welcome to 2017! A new year has begun and new adventures are on the way!

And I think many people are pleased to see 2016 swept away under the carpet and are feeling hopeful for this new year to come. Last year had many bad moments… global decisions were made and caused huge divisions, treasured celebrities passed away, and terrorist attack numbers soared. However, it is important that we don’t write off 2016 as being “the worst year ever”. Despite what we see in the news and on the streets around us, there are many things we can be thankful for from 2016, personally and globally.

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A Welshie returns to Manchester

Since the last time I was in Manchester, I have travelled to 10 countries across 4 continents and taken on numerous new adventures, developed skills and become a well rounded person (I hope…). I had my first holiday abroad with friends (#Barcelonaaaa), had a glimpse at fame from writing a document published in the UK, Costa Rica and Sweden, and I got given a life size photo of me. I’ve waited for sunsets in the snow and sunrises on the beach, skinny dipped (best blog post I’ve ever written), eaten a phenomenal amount of cake, developed half decent cooking skills, and finally learnt how to make coffee.

Adjusting to life back in Manchester (and life without fika) has come with some challenges. Continue reading

Skinny Dipping and the Turkish Foam Room

Yesterday was an interesting day…

I set myself challenges for my last week in Sweden to overcome issues I discovered during my time here centred around self-confidence. More specifically, body confidence and confidence to be in a social space on my own.

2016-08-07 15.50.08Yesterday I went to stay in Ystad Saltsjöbad Spa and Hotel as a gift from my mum. I had a night away on the coast with a nice dinner, a spa treatment (that was the opposite of what I expected) and breakfast. I saw this cute little getaway as the perfect opportunity to complete these challenges and really force myself out of my comfort zone to face these issues.

My challenges: to go skinny dipping in public; and to be in a social space and be happy and fully present. The first was designed to challenge my fear of nudity outside of my shower, to be comfortable the way I am and to not compare myself to others around me. The second was meant to challenge my feeling of exposure, and to embrace the space I am in just as I am.

Here is how it went: Continue reading

Anna, has Sweden changed you?

This week has had many echoes from the week before I moved to Sweden. Time seems to run away uncontrollably, so quickly that you become to feel numb to it’s movement. You try to make each day count, to do things you would never do back home. But you also want to just sit, and be, and take in all the sensations to lock away a complete and perfect memory of the moment.

This week saw my last coffee in my favourite cafe, my last cinnamon bun from my favourite bakery (to be fair, I have eaten my share and more…), the cancellation of my bank card and my library card, my last work day, the return of my lab keys, saying goodbye to beloved friends…

But as always, in the midst of sadness there is joy. I have a huge excitement to see my friends and family in the UK, to have the privilege of having non-internet based interactions with my friends again. And moving here meant I could become part of such a beautiful family (who will see my return at Christmas…), and make perfect friends and although it’s cliche, Sweden has changed me… Continue reading

Skills to survive in Sweden

After nearly completing my amazing year in Sweden, I feel I have finally worked out the skills needed to live life as a Swede. Here are some of my tips for those people thinking of moving to, or exploring, Sweden for themselves.

1 – You must enjoy, or give off the impression that you enjoy, the outdoors, skiing, coffee, Melodifestivalen and cinnamon buns

2 – Love IKEA

3 – Master passive-aggressiveness

4 – Learn how to breath in sharply as a form of saying “yes” or “I agree”.

5 – Learn to enjoy ketchup and lingonberry sauce on everything…most commonly spagetti… Yeah, I know…It’s weird…
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