Finally, at long last I got to see another country after living in Europe since 2015. To be honest, I had no desire to travel on my own so that’s one of the reasons I never really went anywhere. But I do have a huge bucket list of places to see. My boyfriend took me to England to stay with some of his family in Manchester and it was lovely. It was eye opening to see a country of such a similar landscape (in comparison to Ireland) present such diversity in people, architecture and culture as well. While Manchester doesn’t look like Ireland and I’m more so referring to the countryside, I found it unique that Manchester wasn’t super built up but did have a few taller buildings, including the Hilton, where we went for really nice cocktails at their sky bar, Cloud 23.
Manchester offers an industrial appearance having been primarily an industrial town in it’s day, yet it still seems quite modern. The nightlife was a lot of fun. I think nightlife is always exciting somewhere new, simply because you’ve never experienced it before. My boyfriend’s sister knew some great spots for drinks, nights out and meals. His family loves ethnic foods and I’ve seriously never tried so many different kinds because of them!
People really dress up in England and while I brought too many clothes in my little duffel bag (to which my boyfriend said, “I knew you would”) I still didn’t have any idea of what the fashion would be there. I assumed it would be similar but I was wrong. It’s very glam. I felt a little casual in jeans and a leather jacket. Also, the gals wear a lot of makeup. I wore my minimal look all weekend and by the time I got back to Belfast I said I’d give myself a challenge and not wear any during the day for the week because I started to feel like I had to pile on a lot more.
Another moment of magic was meeting my friend from home’s friend from Manchester! I’ve spent years hearing about her and her adventures in modeling in NYC, taking amazing photography and what an overall lovely person she was. She suggested the Manchester Art Gallery where we grabbed a coffee in the cafe. I just love the artsy and unusual so this was super interesting. She showed me her favorite painting and told me more about her escapades and I probably just sat there looking at her in awe (She’s met Johnny Cash! Like WHAT!). So, so interesting! I get to see her again next week when I head to France and stay with our friend.
I didn’t have a blog idea planned out for Manchester simply because I kinda just wanted to soak it all in. So now I’m here trying to decide how to structure this post but I think I’ll just let it be a stream of consciousness post, as is! I’d never been outside of Ireland or the USA so this was special and being in a new place is overwhelming (in a good way)! I’ll be better able to document France now that I know and I’ll be there a little longer.
I’m sitting in Cafe Nero and I just met an old family friend for coffee. We both agreed we miss Dunkin Donuts coffee wholeheartedly. After a strong Americano and a good catch up, I’m bracing myself for a rainy walk back to the flat. I thought it could be a good day to capture some shots of my outfit but alas, lighting is poor. A very typical rainy Irish day!
I’ve really taken a shining to Belfast this past while. My days here have been really laid back and quite fun. It’s a great walkable, small city with a lot of character. There is a lot of brick used in the buildings here which reminds me of some of the houses on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.
Like Dublin, it’s not built up. There is a restriction with height for the buildings. Honestly, this used to irk me about Dublin. If I wanted a day in the city, I could only get a big town vibe. Seeing no skyscrapers bothered me. But with Belfast, I really don’t mind. There is some fabulous architecture in the city center and I find what it lacks in height it makes up for with a fun, quirky sense of art. City hall is a gorgeous spot to visit if you’re in town center.
OUTFIT (But not really and I’ll explain why)
Here’s a peek at what I wore out and about today. Again, lighting was poor due to rain, sorry! I do want to invest in a proper camera once I save up enough. Little old me was my own photographer. And after some slight consideration, it would definitely be awkward if I began taking iPhone pictures of myself on the street.
I put my sheer Bershka black top (love the frill detailing at the shoulder and how it goes in at the sleeve just past the elbow) over a cheap Forever 21 cami tank top and tucked them into these grey plaid Bershka trousers, pairing them with black two strap sandals from Dunnes Stores and a H&M black handbag I picked up in a sale last week for an interview.
I typically buy things on sale except for staple pieces or shoes/accessories that I definitely know I’ll wear often and for a long period of time. Clothes are very replaceable and unless you’re in love with the piece, you’ll only wear it so much. Because I’m always up and down from Dublin to Belfast, you’ll notice I used different currencies under the photos. Overall, this outfit is pretty affordable.
Yes, I took this last picture on the street – our sidewalks are so clean..It was outside the apartment so no one saw, shhhh. So, that’s what I went around in today! Thankfully, the rain wasn’t too heavy. Because most of these pieces were on sale I’m not sure they’re still available but it’s worth checking your local store if you like them. They’re all quite comfy and are easy to pair with dark colors.
Visiting Belfast? Check out VisitBelfast.com for touristy ideas.
Welcome to my little blog I’ve started. I’m going on my third year in Ireland and I still find myself in awe that I live here. The greenery and scenery are still as charming as the day I arrived. Growing up, my parents would always bring my brother and I to where they’re from in the west of Ireland, which is just stunning. So naturally, being submerged into Irish culture, I fell in love with the country. When university time came around, I packed two suitcases and moved to outside of Dublin to study arts.
What People Don’t Tell You About Moving Far Away(or studying abroad/erasmus):
You don’t need two suitcases. You don’t need all that stuff, please believe me. I wish I could tell 18 year old me to stop packing random things I thought I’d want with me that I’d never look at again. One case and a duffel bag is plenty. Choose wisely what you’ll bring. If I could do it again, all I’d pack is clothes and my makeup and some pictures, honestly. You’ll accumulate so much stuff when you’re abroad! Just buy toiletries there.
Have you already moved with too much? Just bring bare essentials plus the random stuff you’ve decided was unnecessary next time you fly home-home, and leave it there.
You will miss stuff. Home is a state of mind but of course there is no comfort like your actual ‘I’m-from-here’ home. Luckily, I don’t get homesick much. Have I? Of course. When my birthday rolls around every year I always sulk a bit that my mom isn’t there to bake cute cupcakes or put my orange juice in a champagne glass for that extra birthday fun effect. I’m from a beach town at home so I miss my little walks along the shore.
WARNING: If you have pets, you’re A)blessed and B) going to miss them more than a person. A sad reality of mine is that I FaceTime my dog regularly. That’s kind of sad, right? I have screenshots.
Skip decor. If you’re like me and you move accommodation frequently as a student, resist decorating to your heart’s content. Again, it’s just more stuff to pack when you move.
Meeting people can be awkward. I have met some seriously incredible people in Ireland. All unique and talented and beautiful people I get to call my friends. Obviously you’ll meet people you may dislike or find your energies just don’t mix together in a good way anymore, and that’s okay! Don’t let that discourage you from getting out there and meeting more people. I’ve managed to meet new friends all along my journey! Try inviting someone for a cup of coffee or an event for chats.
– Try meeting your flatmates, neighbors
– Get involved in clubs (I didn’t, but I wish I did!)
– Experience the nightlife if that’s an interest of yours
– Meet your friend’s friends
Keep positive and distract yourself! If you’re nervous, just know it’s natural and you’re going to have so much fun (I hope anyway). Moving is a magical time of starting fresh and meeting some lovely friendly faces that may end up accompanying you in life for who knows how long!
Stuff will go wrong. C’est la vie. There’s going to be countless ups and downs. Boys will break your heart and you’ll cry in bed with Ben and Jerry’s to Adele. You’ll buy way too much Ben and Jerry’s and regret it because it’s not healthy and now you are kind of broke. You’ll miss your parents and friends. You’ll miss their birthday celebrations and feel bad. Again, your pets. There will be days where all you want to do is ring home but your family is at work or asleep due to the time difference. Lord knows somedays all I want is a medium iced mocha coconut toasted almond coffee made regular from Dunkin Donuts.Distract yourself, you will be just fine.
I am seriously thankful my move and transition to Irish life went so, so swimmingly. I was young, and still am at ripe ol’ twenty, but when I look back I realize it actually was easier than I thought. After high school I was ready for a break from my small Massachusetts town. Ireland was obviously very familiar to me having grown up with the culture and I assume that’s what made it a lot less challenging. I’m super grateful to have a foot in two different countries.