Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Spot on, London!

It's been a full 11 days (September 13-14) since I went to London... and I'm realizing more and more how terrible I am at blogging. But if you forgive me for the sporadic posts... I promise when I do blog, they will be well worth the read!

The program that I'm currently attending: Arts (Honours) at the Queen's University's Bader International Study Centre is especially unique for more than just Herstmonceux Castle. Though my first year course load doesn't sound much different from any other first year arts course load (psychology, politics, human geography, global development, and social history of popular music), it's unique because of our field studies. Every course comes with approx. two field studies at some point in the term!

Furthermore, occasionally we get "cultural studies" to just go see the culture of different cities and countries. Our first cultural study was to London (which is roughly 2-3 hours away by coach bus!). It's a bit of a teenager lifestyle thing to sleep in on weekends/when we don't have morning classes... but for our field trips, they get us loaded on our coach buses super early in the morning (7am). Since there are about 100 first years, and 30 upper years, it took 3 completely full huge coach busses to transport us all.

Once we arrived in London, we took a river cruise from Greenwich to Westminster! I think I got a pretty nice shot of the London Eye. It was a little surreal to actually see it in person; I get goosebumps every time I actually get to see huge landmarks and monuments of places I've always wanted to visit.

After we got off at Westminster, and found Cleopatra's Needle (which is always our go-to point for meeting the coach busses at the end of the day in London), we were able to go off on our own! Here are some miscellaneous "Diana in London" shots.

After a bit of browsing, I went to the Tower of London with my friend Lia! It was a tad pricey at £18 for students... but I don't regret it at all. My favourite favourite part of the Tower of London was definitely the Crown Jewels. Royal crowns are definitely extravagant. (I wish I could have taken pictures upon pictures, but it's not allowed). Here are some other pictures of the Tower of London anyway. As it's fortressed all the way around, the view from outside the walls and inside are entirely different. Even though London itself has old buildings everywhere, I honestly felt like I had stepped into a whole new era inside the Tower of London.

That night, I met up again with some of the other castle girls and had dinner at a cute Italian restaurant. (I seriously miss good food... cafeteria food is VERY hit or miss, leaning on the miss 90% of the time). Then we went out to a pub, and then headed back into our hostel to rest before another day of touring London!

The next morning, my friend Lia and I had to go hunting for King's Cross Station to find Platform 9 & 3/4! It was pretty awesome. The line up isn't pretty (even though we were there at 10am), but the staff people make sure you have a lovely picture (in the hopes you'll buy one off of them) and are genuinely silly with you. I cropped and posted the picture below on Facebook, making sure the door on the right couldn't be seen and especially the guy's hand holding up my scarf. But yes, this is how they make a magical picture! (My picture on my digital camera was cooler than the one they wanted me to buy, just saying). 

After King's Cross, I decided to venture around London on my own. I started around Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Gardens, Chinatown. London is so interesting in the sense that it feels like a modern city but doesn't really have skyscrapers. Anyway, then I headed over to Buckingham Palace!

I found lovely lovely St. James Park on my way out of the Buckingham Palace area, while trying to find a tube station. You can see the London Eye in the background!

So, I went to the British Museum after St. James Park... but my camera ran out of battery (oops!).

I hope you enjoyed reading through my long rambles of my absolutely incredible (very rainy) London excursion; I'll be back in London eventually... but my next super big trip coming up is Bruges, Belgium on the 28th! There are two course field studies I need to write about before then, but it'll be up hopefully not too long after the trip.

Lots of love, Diana

Monday, 16 September 2013

Favourite Outfits since University Started!

Day outfit: the highlight of this is the fact that I got the sweater from the "donation depot" freebie room here.

Night outfit: We went clubbing in Eastbourne - which is a nearby city - on a Wednesday. The club was called Atlantis. It was actually a really fun time, even if the castle kids made up like 50% of the dance floor... I also got this dress for free at donation depot! Yay! 


This is super late, but I feel like it's important to post. This was our last day of orientation before classes!

Instead of an inflatable bouncy castle (because we have a real castle), we got bouncy volleyball. The most entertaining game of volleyball I've ever played.

This is my roommate Maddy rock-climbing! I went up two walls myself, but forgot to ask someone to take a picture of me at the top... oops! You'll just have to believe that I did get all the way up. 

There was also a falconer with a hawk, falcon, and owl - that we could play with! Super super awesome creatures. Feeding them rabbit feet and such was kind of awful but THEY'D SWOOP UP TO YOUR HAND SO IT WAS WORTH IT. 

And last but not least, here's a picture of the castle I took. I don't even have amazing photography skills... but this looks beautiful. So yeah! Look back soon for more posts of my travels to London and such. 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Ending Orientation: Wine & Cheese

So this was my wine & cheese opening ceremonies/meet the professors night. I really really liked my human geography prof and the politics/gender studies prof who I'm not actually with - but I really would love to switch into her class. (I wrote teacher by accident and then had to go and correct myself). The other profs seemed nice enough, and I'm excited for lectures. I guess I'll write more about my classes as they come!

Today was my last day of orientation, and I started off the day by going into Eastbourne (which is the nearest city-ish place). It was lovely - but I'm all too tired to post about all of it. So, I'll catch up eventually! Tomorrow is my first day of class! Yay!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Day 1: First Impressions

We arrived at London Heathrow airport, and then got on a coach bus to Herstmonceux Castle. I had some girls on my flights who were also castle kids yay! So they were sweet and nice to talk to. 

This is the picture I took from the coach bus coming in (take note of the beautiful glare... oh man). It's pretty spectacular seeing it in person. 

These are a few of the friends I've made already! Haha, but first day - so who knows who actually is going to end up my close friends? But everyone is super nice and friendly, so I'm excited for the year!

Hope everything is well in Canada! Lots of love.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

DIY - Fixing Toms!

Clearly, I'm not very experienced with this entire DIY thing... because I forgot to take before pictures. But trust me, my Toms were in TERRIBLE shape. There was a huge hole on my left pinky area, as well as a tear where the heart is. The other side didn't have any large holes, but there was a small hole where my right pinky was too. 

To be perfectly honest, I hate flats. I hate them with a passion. They're generally pretty ugly (in my opinion) and they're uncomfortable; I would much rather be in heels than flats, any day. However, while packing, I had to think about the shoes I wanted to bring over to England. I didn't really want to bring other "comfy" shoes other than my Toms, but my mom was insisting that I got new shoes, new Toms even... because mine were absolutely falling apart. 

So I had some leftover jean material from an old sewing project, and I googled "how to fix toms" to find this lovely blog post: http://www.hernewleaf.com/2012/03/13/diy-how-to-repair-and-make-over-your-toms/

I got myself some liquid stitch, cut up my jean fabric so it fit my Toms, and followed the tutorial! I think they look pretty fantastic, and now I can wear them for a little longer. 

Have y'all done any simple DIY projects to save some old clothing/shoes? Let me know! 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Point Pelee National Park

Hey everyone! Happy September!

For my last weekend in Canada, I decided to go explore some of Ontario. It's a little ridiculous that I've lived almost my entire life in Ontario, Canada... and I've barely explored this province, much less this country!

So, when my mom asked me what I wanted to do over the Labour Day weekend, I said I wanted to go to a National Park. After narrowing down the choices, I decided that I really wanted to visit Point Pelee!

My outfit choice for the day were these cute pink printed shorts from Zara ($15 on sale, major score!) and my Mickey Mouse tank top. The pink cardigan was on and off throughout the day depending on how warm it felt/how many black flies wanted to bite me...

So here are some pictures of the marsh area and boardwalk.

Here's a picture of the point!

My flight to England is tomorrow at 5:30pm (Wednesday, September 4th!)... and I'm ridiculously excited. It's going to be an adventure of a lifetime, and to be perfectly honest, I'm really really looking forward to school as well. Perhaps my expectations are a little high, haha... but that's okay. It's my first time in Europe, and I think the British accents will positively charm me despite rainy gloomy weather. 

Most of my friends have already started/finished their frosh weeks (craaaazy stuff) and mine doesn't begin until Thursday! Even my high school friends had their first day today! School is in full swing for almost everyone except me... THIS IS SO EXCITING. 

Have a great year everyone! I think this is pretty fitting. Even if I'm heading off to have my own adventure, I hope y'all make the best of your year here and find little adventurous things of your own.