This month Joy from The Harpy has been my featured sponsor. If any of you readers also follow Joy’s blog, you’ll already know that she’s temporarily left Glasgow, Scotland (where she’s a student) / Liverpool, England (where she’s from) behind for several weeks in Morocco.
Take it away Joy!
1. What motivated you to start blogging?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and telling stories, I loved reading blogs, I started with fashion and beauty blogs when I was looking for reviews of products. I toyed with the idea of starting one of them but although I enjoy reading them, make up isn’t something I care enough about to write about regularly, plus I’m not terribly adventurous and there’s only so many ways you can say “earthy eye shadow and lipstick when I can be bothered”. I’m calling myself a “lifestyle blogger” because that seems to be the closest fit by virtue of being so wonderfully vague.
2. What inspires you personally? (From fashion sense to musical taste to blog aspirations)
I think I could be sued for slander if I tried to align my “fashion sense” to anyone in particular. I think inspiration can come from anywhere, if I had to pick certain people it would be people who do what they do with passion. David Attenbourgh, JK Rowling, Pliny the Elder; all the usual suspects really. Bloggers I really adore (aside from your good self of course, Amanda) would be those who just exude individualism: Miss Pickering, Peonies and Polaroids, Cassie Stephens, Bee Waits, Dolly Clackett, The Secret Life of Bee, reading my tea leaves. I tried to pick people there you might not have heard of before but who are definitely worth checking out.
3. What’s your favorite song at the moment?
Gone A-Rye by Chelsea McBee and The Random Assortment.
I am not hugely into music, I listen to BBC Radio 2 a lot (because I am secretly an old woman) and occasionally feel like I should switch to Radio 1 just to keep up with what’s trendy but within ten minutes I remember why I listen to Radio 2.
4. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
Do I have to choose? Can I get away with saying “planet Earth”? I think the place I’d most like to go back to and spend more time in is Montreal, I spent a long weekend there when I was 19 and living in Toronto and it was only long enough to fall in love, not get to know the place. Favourite-favourite-feels-like-I-left-a-part-of-my-soul-there place? Abersoch in north Wales. It’s where my family spent the summer holidays when I was younger. Camping, walking, sailing, horse riding, pretending we were extras in an Enid Blyton novel. It’s the first place I saw the Milky Way, first place I went skinny-dipping, first (and only) music festival I went to. I do not have a good sense of direction, but if I could drive a car I could drive to Abersoch in my sleep.
5. What tips can you give someone who’s currently in a long-distance relationship?
Get out, now, while you still can. My go to advice when anybody asks if they should give long distance a go is a very emphatic no. It’s horrible and it’s not worth it. In case I sound unromantic I asked the current Mr Harpy what advice he’d give someone and his was “Run, delete their number, block them on facebook, forget you ever knew they existed” so clearly we’re soul mates. Honestly it’s not worth it, plenty of fish and all that jazz. (Quite seriously though, if you’re going to be taking someone else’s advice on this: it was never going to work, if the two of you can’t figure out how to make it work yourselves: it’s not going to work. Take my bitter, cynical, unromantic advice and feel free to prove me wrong.)
6. What destination is at the top of your travel bucket list?
Right now? Morocco, but only because I’m going there next (in fact by the time this goes live I think I’ll be there!) I’m really looking forward to visiting Volubilis and the Roman ruins there, my inner history geek will never be silenced (never I tell you!) Plus the heat is going to make such a nice change to Glasgow, which for all its positive qualities does come up wanting in the climate department.
7. What’s the one thing that really surprised you about blogging?
The guilt! I don’t have a lot of readers and mostly I’m just blogging for myself but if I don’t post for a while it starts creeping in, especially now that I’ve finished university and don’t really have any other commitments yet.
8.Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Let’s see, five years would make me… 28? Eek, my mum was married, had two children and a mortgage by the time she was 28. I don’t see myself doing that, I hope I haven’t settled down, I hope I’m still travelling, I hope I’ve found a way to make ends meet and pay for flights without having to spend two thirds of my waking life inside a cubicle. I’m not saying I won’t be married and won’t have started a family but I’d much rather be spending money on flights and trains than bricks and mortar.
9 . What’s the one “must see” in both Liverpool and Glasgow?
Both cities tend to have a grimy reputation: they’re thought of as being too rough around the edges with god-awful accents. While I’m not going to try and convince anyone there’s poetry in the Scouse sound (there’s not it’s one of the worst things about going home, changing trains and suddenly being immersed in it) I do vigorously refute the suggestion that either city lacks for culture. If you’re coming to Glasgow I’d say start in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, it’s one of the top 50 most visited art galleries in the world for a reason, it is an incredible space. There’s everything inside, Salvador Dali’s, enough local history that you’ll learn something about Glasgow and an utterly awe-inspiring exhibition of swords and weapons. Starting at the Kelvingrove also means you’re in the West End where you’ll find the quirkiest shops, tastiest cafes and best views of the university.
Liverpool is more difficult, I grew up there, and both my parents’ work in tourism so over the years I have been taken (multiple times) to almost everything there is to see. I would say it really does depend on what you’re interested in. It has more museums and galleries than any UK city outside London, they’re almost all free. If you’re a music fan, take a Magical Mystery Tour and see where the Beatles came together. If you have a credit card you’re itching to use, the city centre has one of the largest pedestrianised shopping areas in Europe where you can find everything from Primark rubbing shoulders with independent vintage shops to Vivienne Westwood. If you want to get away from the city and prefer a bit of nature get a day saver rail ticket and hop aboard the train heading north, first stop at Waterloo and walk straight down to the beach where you can see Antony Gormley’s Iron Men, as well as passing a well stocked duck pond, when you’ve got lots of photographs of the view get back on the train and go to Formby. Formby is one of the few remaining havens for the native British Red Squirrel, it’s also home to natterjack toads and a wide variety of native birds. Or visit the Anglican Cathedral (the one that looks old even though it’s not) and go to the top of the tower, you’re sure to spot something to do from up there.
10. What’s your favorite form of social media (instagram, twitter, pinterest, etc)?
My phone is old and “full of personality” so that limits my social media options, I don’t instagram and sitting at a laptop with a full keyboard and trying to limit myself to 140 characters limits my tweeting, I’m getting better but I still mostly use it to complain about things. I do like Tumblr, but I don’t often reblog things, I prefer using it to showcase my photography notbadphotography.tumblr.com I update this even less frequently than my blog, you have been warned. Mostly I just admit to being a very bad social media user, I don’t interact, I do just lurk. I’m trying to get better at not lurking but sometimes it feels very false, saying things for the sake of trying to say more things. If anyone has any tips on getting over that they’ll be gratefully received.
And please take a look at my newest sponsor: