What Goes On Inside My Head

So I was just in the process of finding my CV so I could email it to FatFace – Yay adulting – and I found a word document that I typed out in the middle of exams; probably in the midst of an existential crisis to be honest because, let’s face it, exams do strange things to peoples’ minds…this blog post just proves it. Of course I have revisited this topic quite a few times since I wrote it and it could be relatable to you but I just found it amusing to read back so I’m going to share it with you.

This is exactly the way I found it. This is essentially me rambling to my computer so don’t mind me!

Sometimes life makes me think how I ended up in this body. Ever since I was born as Caitlin Bell I have always thought in English and wondered why I have the life that I do; I could easily have been born in rural Africa or in China somewhere. Then I think what it would be like to have been born somewhere else and think in a different language; Mandarin, Urdu etc. and view England as completely foreign and peculiar…you never know, maybe I did once. That leads me on to the subject of conscience; what makes me who I am. I don’t believe in God but I just don’t understand how there can be nothingness after death. The thought that this is all there is makes me afraid to face life and what comes with it so it has always given me great comfort to believe in or at least consider the possibility of life after death. The way I’d like to see it is that my conscience used to belong to somebody else before I was born but this is the life I remember, perhaps because it’s currently happening. I can’t remember my days as a toddler but I know for sure that I was one. Maybe your conscience just discards any memories of a previous life because you don’t need them anymore; new life, fresh start.
Just wondering and writing this down, I guess to help me compartmentalise the world. Isn’t that why we write anything? Like I said, if we kept everything in our heads all at once it would get awfully crowded and so to write down your thoughts, you can begin to make sense of everything.
I do keep coming back to the thought on language, perhaps because I’m a budding linguist with a curiosity for other lifestyles.
I got distracted by the birds so I’ve lost my train of thought. Maybe I was once a bird. When I did my parachute jump I loved the feeling of floating about in the air, same when I went gliding and more so when I was flying (in a grob tutor). It would be strange to be a dog though…

Yep… Strange way to sign off. But as I said, I got distracted by the birds! Hope you enjoyed reading my random thoughts…you nosey parkers you.

Even though this is my first post of September, I’m going to leave my August favourite untranslatable word until my next post just because this was spur of the moment, unplanned blog post.

I’m currently listening to I Wish It Would Rain Down by Phil Collins.

Until next time,
Caitlin x

 

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Trams and Tasty Waffles

If you can’t clearly work out from the title or my recent Instagram posts, I returned from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam last Wednesday to the rain and miserable weather at Leeds Bradford International…It always manages to be raining when I step off the plane in the UK. Not happy about that obviously, yet it always feels like home nonetheless! I wonder why.

We left on Sunday for a 2 1/2 hour car journey to get to the airport after some frantic last minute packing the night before (aassss usual). To be perfectly honest it was my worst flight experience to date due to not being able to get all of my toiletries through security (because I can’t for the life of me pack lightly). It meant I had to throw away some Soap&Glory body mist that I got for Christmas…*cries*. Another thing was actually on the airplane when the guys behind kept kicking the back of our seats…until one of them was sick and we were able to move elsewhere on the plane due to the smell and the pool of not very nice stuff on the floor beneath our seats. But never mind that! We brushed it off fairly quickly. There was a bit of confusion at Schipol trying to find out how to get to the hotel because there was no 310 bus running to Station Zuid on Sundays and also the trains weren’t running so we had to get a coach replacement. Finding that coach was fun (not) and took us about an hour.

After checking into the hotel and topping up on deodorant we got the tram into Amsterdam’s canal district to find some place to eat. The tram ride itself was amusing as we weren’t sure whether to get on or not so Dad hopped on and next thing we knew the doors were closing behind him XD He was stranded on the tram system so we had to rescue him at the next station with the tram tickets.
Now, out of all the culture and architecture and amazing heritage that Amsterdam has to offer, the food was probably my favourite thing about this lovely city and the little restaurant that we went to on our first night was by far my favourite; Buffet van Odette, which actually ended up being in the rough guide but anyway… Here’s what I had: for starters it was beetroot, feta and roasted hazelnuts… so so heavenly; for mains I had a salad complete with fresh salmon, puy lentils, and topped with a poached egg. It was super yummy.

After the meal we just headed back to the hotel but we thought we’d walk – we were sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to find our way. How wrong we were! Dad ended up having to use his phone to navigate our way around the labyrinth of canals, although these are quite useful as a landmark to find your way. Along the way I spotted a few herons in the dark – exciting!

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The next morning, Dad wanted to go visit De Foodhallen, north of Vondelpark so we took the tram as far as de Museumplein and walked to Kinkerstraat. As de Foodhallen had just opened the counters hadn’t all opened up yet so we went across the road to The Breakfast Club, cue ‘Don’t You Forget Me’. This place also served delicious food which I am determined to recreate at some point. I had buttermilk pancakes with fresh fruit while my mum had an avocado and beetroot club sandwich (hmmm) and Dad tried the sweet potato salad bowl; I can’t remember what was in here but the basis is good enough to give it ago for brunch one day.

Now, what do you think of when you think Amsterdam? Trams? Yep… Canals? Of course! After eating the most amazing breakfast – I tried a bit of everything – we hopped on the tram heading towards Centraal Station to look for a canal boat company to show us around. We opted for a covered boat which would take us around the canals for an hour showing us the highlights. This gave us an idea of where we wanted to go next so when we stepped off the boat we headed in the direction of the Prinsengracht where we wandered upon the Tulip Museum and a figure of Anne Frank outside the Anne Frank Huis.

We were pretty hungry by this point so naturally we looked for somewhere to eat for dinner. This took us to an Indonesian restaurant next to the flower market, a colourful haven for succulents, cacti and, of course, the tulips. After booking the restaurant we rambled around for a bit before deciding that our stomachs were getting impatient. Aside from the starter at Sam Purno Indonesian this was my least favourite of the restaurants that we tried out – the food was too hot for my liking. One tram ride from outside the restaurant and we were back at Hotel Beethoven.

I woke up on Tuesday morning to find that Dad had booked us tickets for the Rijksmuseum. These online tickets are good to get because it means you can skip the queues like with many other popular highlights in Amsterdam; namely the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank Huis & Museum. When I visit art museums I like to buy postcards featuring art work I find in the museum which I particularly like. I was a tad frustrated when I couldn’t find one of the Monet painting I’d found that morning and so I bought one of A Windmill on a Polder Waterway by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel – this was also Dad’s favourite painting in the museum. After a long while wandering the many corridors of the Rijksmuseum, we sat down in the coffee for a good ol’ cup of tea.

After pondering what to make with the rest of our day we decided to explore Vondelpark by hiring some bikes. This was a interesting first experience of riding bikes in Amsterdam. To start with, I saw only one cyclist, over the few days we were there, who was wearing a helmet; the roads are confusing to cross when you can’t immediately work out which way to look with regards to oncoming traffic!

After a lil while we thought we’d return the bikes and, you guessed it, look for somewhere to eat so we wandered down the Singel towards de Prinsengracht to find this vegetarian restaurant called the Golden Temple. The only table spaces they had free were the ones upstairs…the only thing was that you have to sit on the floor because the tables are that low. I was certain I was sitting on blankets and cushions tangled with bits of food from customers past – but it was certainly an experience, I almost did fall asleep there though!

As Wednesday was our last day we’d decided to book an early entrance time for the Van Gogh museum so we headed there for 10am. I loved roaming about the different floors from different periods of Vincent’s life. The place had different rooms from somewhere for his self portraits to a hub of inspiration from ‘Peasant painters’ and other impressionists such as the one and only Claude Monet. Aside from the angry, mad security woman around the Sunflowers painting – who was scaring all the children away – it was my favourite place in Amsterdam yet. I ended up paying €11 on Van Gogh postcards -they live on my bedroom wall as we speak…
When we were satisfied that we’d seen all we wanted, we caught the tram from the Museumplein to Kinkerstraat once more to find some lunch in de Foodhallen. There was loads to choose from but I went for a falafel wrap with grilled veg….YUM. And for pudding was an amazing treat in the form of awesome lil tartlets. I chose a raspberry (framboos) and lemon (citroen) tartlets and guess what!? They were bloomin delicious!

After that tasty lunch we decided it was time to make our way to the airport. But wait! On stop first. Opposite our hotel was a lovely little bakery/café called Le Pain Quotidien – Belgian- we had eaten here for breakfast the previous two mornings and so we decided to stop for a lil snack. I had Belgian waffles with fresh fruit – it was divine – with a fresh mint lemonade.

It took us a while to find the train back to Schipol but it was a much nicer journey home than the way there. Bye-bye Amsterdam I miss you!

I’m currently listening to The Silver Birch by The Magnetic North

Until next time,
Caitlin x

 

 

The Farne Islands

 Last Friday, my dad took myself and my brother along to Seahouses in order that we could ride the waves across to the Farne Islands inhabited by tens of thousands of sea birds such as puffins and Arctic terns, as well as shags and cormorants. These islands also play host to a pretty impressive seal colony with the occasional curious seal head popping up in the water to say hello!

We arrived in Seahouses with minutes to spare as the next 2.5 hour tour of the Farne Islands was leaving in 10 minutes; just enough time to park the car and check in with the National Trust. A brisk walk down the harbour wall, and a few slippery steps later and we’d boarded the Serenity. As it was a little late in the season there were only about 15 of us on board so there was no fear to be had of being squished! The captain took us on a tour of the smaller islands where all the seals could be found making a bit of racket. We then ventured towards the cliffs where hundreds of seagulls made there nests. From there, we ploughed on through the waves chasing the hoards of puffins heading toward the main Inner Farne- with beaks bursting with sand eels- exactly where we headed to next!

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On this main island you can find a small chapel, a little information hut and some public toilets on one end and the lighthouse on the other, as well as multiple rabbit burrows inhabited by the puffins. There are boardwalks that take you around the island, right to the cliffs and some picnic benches. One particular thing to look for are the adolescent puffins waddling across the boardwalks or this coming back from fishing flying low right in front of you. Although you can see seagulls most anywhere, one of my favourite photographs of the day were those of the two lovebirds…literally.

The island is now owned by the National Trust and the history of the islands include the story of Grace Darling and the part she played in the rescue of a shipwreck one stormy night. Grace Darling died very young and she is buried nearby in Bamburgh, another coastal town on the Northumberland coast. From the open water you can see Bamburgh castle and Lindisfarne castle; resting place of St. Oswald. Other castles down the Northumberland coast include Dunstanburgh and Warkworth.

One thing you have to be careful about if you’re exploring the Inner Farne are the Arctic terns which are prone to dive-bombing  to protect their chicks. You are encouraged to wear some sort of hat or carry an umbrella so here you see me modelling my old air cadets hat passed down to me from my older brother.

If you’re interested in visiting the Farne Islands I’d recommend going June-July but there’s plenty to see if you’re there a little earlier in the year. I’ve previously been there as early as April but there were only a few puffins as about 70,000 of them had gone off fishing further afield. However there was great entertainment provided by a young seal sun-bathing by the little port, he wasn’t at all deterred by all of the tourists and he just lay there on his back smiling and enjoying the sunshine.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post on the Farne Islands.

I’m currently listening to Come And Get Your Love by Redbone.

Until next time,
Caitlin

Favourite Snaps of 2015: October

Ack. This break from blogging has gone on long enough! Too long did revision take over my life. I’m back to doing the things I love: such as cooking dinner, wandering and exploring, photography, drawing, knitting, being healthy…er.
With results day in a little over 2 weeks away I thought I should get back to my favourite series of blog posts and with it my favourite snaps of 2015!

Truth be told, October was a better month for photography than September. I had the half term holiday to look forward to and my cousin was leaving, yet again, to live in New Zealand – Mia had a leaving party at her home in Oxfordshire and so I was able to enjoy a weekend in my uncle and auntie’s sweet little cottage… so thank you Mia! On our way back up North we stopped off at Waddesdon Manor where I enjoyed the autumnal colours on the trees and the decaying leaves which littered the grass. A particular favourite of mine for this month is the photo of my brother with a disc on his nose saying ‘Oxford Brew’. I find this hilariously ironic because he went to Cambridge university and so it would have been too good if he’d got some tea from Cambridge and not from its academic rival. Also his expression is priceless. Just one other little thing: my brother stayed in that jumper all weekend.
Enjoy!

A little later on in October it was time to pop down to London to go and see The Lion King in the West End with my family. I just love going places, especially if it means we can go somewhere awesome for brunch! Enter: The Grainstore.

Ah yes it’s my first post on here since February and it’s also my first post of August!

My favourite untranslatable word of July: TSUNDOKU, Japanese
This is a noun meaning the pile of recently-(or not so recently)bought books that don’t get to see the light of day. I chose the word tsundoku because I’ve been reading more and more recently and I keep heading for the ambitious reads, for example I’m currently reading The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett and it’s great but it means that the list of books I’m waiting to read keeps growing as I keep getting pulled into Waterstones by the will of the books and I often come out having adopted a book or two! Most of the classics in my room previously came from my dad’s bookshelf, e.g. Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations suitably! Oh and To Kill A Mockingbird of course although I fully intend to read this one!
‘The tsundoku scale can range from just one unread book to a serious hoard, so you are most likely guilty of it. As intellectual as you may look tripping over an unread copy of Great Expectations on your way to the front door, those pages probably deserve to see the daylight.’ – Lost In Translation by Ella Frances Sanders.

 

I’m currently listening to Solace by Myriam Gendron

Until next time,
Caitlin x