A Weekend in Glasgow

Scotland is such an interesting country, but I’ve only really spent any time in Edinburgh and St Andrews so when I had an oppportunity to visit Glasgow, I took it! Glasgow is a really great city with some really beautiful architecture and an interesting history. I travelled there at the start of December for a research trip at the University, but I made sure that I had time to explore the area and do some sightseeing.

glasgow university statue lisabeth westwood

Day One

I live in Leeds, so it was only a four hour train journey to Glasgow. I packed lots of books and snacks to keep myself amused and fed along the way. I arrived in Glasgow in the late-afternoon so I headed straight to my B&B. The Argyll Guest House is in the west end of Glasgow, only about a 15 minute walk from the university. It is the more affordable sister to the Argyll Hotel.  My room only cost £60 for two nights, including breakfast!

argyll guest house glasgow Lisabeth Westwood

The room was small, but it had a brand new ensuite (with bath! I made good use of that). I had only booked a single room and was happy to find that the room had a double bed, which was super comfy.

After checking in, I did a little work in my room before heading out to dinner at Number 16. This was a really cute restaurant (it is quite small so I’d advise booking in advance) with such friendly staff. They were only running a Christmas menu so I got a 3 course dinner for £32.

Lisabeth Westwood number 16 glasgow

To start, I had chicken liver parfait with savoury granola and cranberries. I decided to go traditional for my main course and ordered the turkey with all the trimmings – it was so good though, even the sprouts were delicious! I was already pretty full when the time came to order dessert, but I decided to go with the chocolate and brown butter ganache. It was beautiful and very rich so I felt like a lie down afterwards, but it was totally worth it.

Day Two

After having a big breakfast at my hotel (it was a standard continental with cooked options, nothing to write home about but still nice and filling), I headed to the university. It was a lovely, crisp morning. I was all wrapped up in a coat, scarf, and gloves and everything looked so pretty all covered in frost. The sun was just rising and was casting a beautiful light on the buildings (#nofilter).

Lisabeth Westwood glasgowglasgow university frost lisabeth westwood

I walked through a really pretty little park and over a bridge to get to Glasgow University. It was so quiet, just a few dog walkers and parents taking their children to school. It was such a lovely way to start the day.Lisabeth Westwood frost glasgowLisabeth Westwood university glasgow statue

I spent the entire day in the library so I don’t have much to report. For dinner, I really wanted to try Ox and Finch, a restaurant that had an amazing menu of tapas (with a Scottish edge). They were fully booked (again, book way in advance) but they keep one table free for walk-ins. It was beautifully decorated with an open kitchen so you could see the chefs at work. A perfect place for a date! Lisabeth Westwood ox and finch glasgow

I had mozzerella, parma ham, with pear followed by butternut squash and merguez haggis, roasted carrots. I finished off with an amazing praline crémeux with ginger icecream that tasted just like a ferrero rocher! The best dinner I’d had for a very long time.

Day Three

I had finished all my work early, so I decided to spend the rest of my time in Glasgow doing some more touristy/cultural stuff. I started off by walking to Great Western Road, which has lots of cafés and cute shops. I stopped at this book shop and spent half an hour brousing the shelves. I came out with a couple of great second hand books for the train journey home.

caledonia books Lisabeth Westwood glasgowLisabeth Westwood glasgow caledonia booksLisabeth Westwood caledonia books glasgow

I was in need of some caffeine so I stopped by a vegetarian place, the V&V café. I had my first (and probably last) matcha latte, it just tasted too much like grass for my liking.

Lisabeth Westwood matcha latte

I then finished off my trip with a few museum visits. First, I headed to the Hunterian museum on the University campus. It is housed in a really beautiful building, and had such a diverse collection – something for everyone! It had roman ruins, dinosaur and animal skeletons, and a really fascinating medical collection. I even saw a vial of Joseph Lister’s urine (gross, but kinda cool for those that did the History of Medicine GCSE module!).Lisabeth Westwood Hunter museumLisabeth Westwood Hunter museum

Last on my list was the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum. Like the Hunterian, this imposing building has wide range of items, but the art galleries are not to be missed. They have interesting impressionist collections, but my favourite was the selection of works by the Scottish colourists. Definitely worth a visit, and it is free!Lisabeth Westwood Kelvingrove museum glasgow

Once I had done a tour of the Kelvingrove, it was time to head back to Leeds. It was such a great mini-trip. I wish I had more time to explore the city centre more, I was definitely focussed on the west end of Glasgow. I hope to make another visit soon, perhaps on the way to the Highlands!

If anyone has any other recommendations, please let me know!

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My 2018 Goals

We are three quarters the way through January, so you might be surprised to see a post about my 2018 goals and resolutions. However, I am trying very hard to stick with them this year and I thought putting them on here might help me keep going. You know – guilt me into sticking with it!

I have two sections to this: my goals and my resolutions. The goals are something that I can achieve and cross off the list, but the resolutions are an ongoing part of my year. In the past I have been pretty rubbish at keeping my resolutions. This year I tried hard to make them managable and achievable. I have even started a sort-of bullet journal to help me track my blog posts/workouts etc.

My Goals

  • Move in with my boyfriend (see my post here for more info!)
  • Publish a research paper (I’m doing a PhD and this is an important part of the process)
  • Finish my secret project. It is only secret because I use a pseudonym on here and writing this one out would tell you all my real name!

My Resolutions

  • Write a blog post (at least) once a week. I really am trying to get back into blogging!
  • Do yoga at least once a week. I used to be so into yoga (specifically Yoga with Adriene), but I barely did any in 2017.
  • Write for at least 2 hours a day, five days a week. I’m in the third year of my PhD now, and I definitely need to start cranking out the words so I better keep to this one!

Wish me luck!

 

November Favourites and Highlights

November isn’t actually over year but I have had such a good month that I wanted to talk about it now! Here’s a run down of my highlights and favourites from this month.

Crisp morning walks

Lisabeth Westwood winter woods chilly

I love this time of year: it is getting chilly but too cold, the mornings are still light, and I can walk to work not completely bundled up in scarves and hats. I live a few miles from my university and I’m loving my morning walks at the moment. I get wrapped up, stick on a podcast (current favourites are Crtl Alt Delete and No Such Thing as a Fish), and set off to work. I love the crisp, fresh air and I often make a slight detour to walk through the park for that extra autumnal feeling.

Bourgois Rouge Velvet Lipstick

Bourgois lipstick

Lipsticks. There are just so many out there and most don’t live up to the hype. However, I have been loving the combination of this Rouge Velvet lipstick (03 Hippink chic) and the BarryM lipliner in Runway. It is really longlasting, i.e. it doesn’t leave you with that horrible lipstick ring round your mouth after one sip of coffee. I love this colour – I’ve really been channeling my inner Alicia Florrick (another November favourite, I watched ALL of the Good Wife recently).

I’m going to New York!

I’m so excited for this one! I have wanted to go to New York for as long as I can remember. As a child of the 90s, Friends and the like made NYC look like the place to be. I was lucky to win an academic prize that will fund a research trip to the Big Apple in March. It won’t be all fun but I’m really looking forward to planning my stay. I have the hotel booked (I’m staying at the AKA Wall Street and it looks so fancy), next is flights!

Teaching

I won’t sugarcoat it, teaching is hard and I only have a few seminar groups a week. I’m so impressed for all those primary and secondary school teachers out there, it is so much work! Despite all that work and marking, I have loved teaching this year. My students are so nice and seem to be engaged with the subject, the latter is really all that I’m interested in. The extra money has definitely come in handy this month too as Christmas is fast approaching.

L’Occitane Shea Handcream

Birchbox handcream Lisabeth Westwood L'Occitane

I mentioned this handcream in my review of the November Birchbox and I have really been enjoying it. I get very dry skin in winter and my skin has been loving this cream – it is so rich and moisturising. It is the perfect size for on the go but I have mine on my desk. I think I even prefer it to the Body Shop hemp handcream and that has been my favourite for years!

 

How to Write More and Enjoy It

For those that don’t know, November is NaNoWrMo (National Novel Writing Month). Thousands of people will be picking up their pens to write that book they have been planning for years. Maybe you are thinking about starting that first novel or perhaps just want to write more words, more often for your blog or university/school work. This post will breakdown a few tips and tricks that I have learnt whilst doing my PhD.

For the past two years, I have been writing about 10,000 words every six to eight weeks for my PhD supervisions. It can be pretty intense and when I had just started the PhD, I was often rushing to get things done, staying up late, and getting up far too early to meet deadlines. Over time, I have got better at writing by simply learning what makes my writing sessions more productive and less stressful. For more on productivity, check out this post.

Academic Year and You

1. Know what you want to write

I’m sure everyone’s English teacher at school advised you to plan your essay before you start. It might be boring advice, but it is excellent advice. If you don’t know what you want to talk about or the angle that you plan to take with your blog post/essay/whatever, it is going to be much much harder to write. Personally, I find that my ideas develop as I write – it is part of my process – so I’m not suggesting that you should have every sentence thought out. Just take some time to think ahead and you’ll save yourself hours in the long run.

2. Just write something, anything!

When you are trying to write, few things are more terrifying than the blank page. Although I think planning can really help, at some point you have to start writing so just go for it. Don’t overthink things and just get some words out! We are all guilty of trying to craft the perfect sentence or paragraph, of agonising over every word, of deleting and rewriting over and over again. I try not to re-read whilst I’m writing; instead, I just get as many words out as I can and then edit later. For the first draft, any words are better than no words.

3. Set (sensible) goals

When I have a deadline approaching, everything (even cleaning the bathroom or taking out the bins) seems more appealing than writing. I have to persuade myself to write, and I do this by setting myself a goal for the day. It is important to make the goal acheivable but not super easy: I tend to go for 500 words as I can usually manage it even when inspiration isn’t flowing. Then tell someone your goal, like a friend, colleague, or partner. You’ll then have someone to hold you accountable and to celebrate with! The prospect of writing seems so much less daunting when you know exactly what you want to acheive that day.

For some people writing comes naturally but for others (myself included!), it can take time to learn what makes you a more productive and happier writer. These three tips have improved how I work and made writing a much more pleasent process.

Happy writing!

Library shot PhD

I’m back…sort of

When I started this blog over  eighteen months ago I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I tried it for about six months before deciding to put the blog on a semi-permanent hiatus. Honestly, I wasn’t really enjoying it.

There were many reasons why I wasn’t loving the process. The main one was that I wasn’t creating the content that I really wanted to put out. There was a good argument for this – no one else would probably be interested. I am a PhD student studying medieval literature but I’m also mildly into make-up, skincare, and watch more YouTube videos than is probably sensible. My interests are varied and my lifestyle is very different from most. I’m not quite a student and not quite a researcher. I have very little money, lots of flexibility, and almost no future job stability. My concerns about the academic job market, the demands of academia and research, and the day-to-day nonsense of trying to write a thesis don’t make for a very fun blog.

So when I was putting out my first 30 blog posts – I felt like I had to conform to an existing standard. There were so many other bloggers talking about how to run a sucessful blog, how to get and maintain followers and readers, how to do the perfect flatlay. I didn’t feel like I, my interests, and asethetics fit in. I still have no desire to own anything with marble effect or  a blush pink fluffy cushion. Because of all this, I decided to stop – but now I’m back.

I’m not expecting my blog posts to get many views and I’m not planning on pushing my blog on social media. Rather I’m going to use this platform for me. To write about things that interest and are important to me. For the most part, I just want to practice my writing. I’m in the third year of my PhD now and, over the next eighteen months, I’m going to be writing 100,000 words. I need to get used to sitting down and writing.

I’m not going to committ to a certain number of posts per week – that seems like setting myself up for failure – but I’m going to try put something up fairly regularly. Let’s see how this goes….

Academic Year and You

What I think about blogging

It is a Sunday evening. I’ve had my dinner, I’ve got a glass of red, and I’m thinking about blogging.

I started blogging in May as I was looking for a hobby that didn’t require any money and that I could do from the comfort of my living room. But, to be honest, I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I thought I would.

It goes through peaks and troughs: sometimes I am at every Twitter chat in existence and I read lots of other blogs but I’m currently in a bit of a slump. I’m feeling similar with YouTube – I subscribe to a lot of channels and I used to really love catching up with videos but, more and more, I’m finding myself to be frustrated or bored with the content. This is partly because I have a very strict budget so can’t buy many clothes or new beauty items so huge hauls aren’t interesting to me and I end up thinking ‘Who needs this much stuff?!‘.

With my own blog, well I don’t think I have much to say. I never found ‘my niche’. I’d really like to write more about my PhD and life as a researcher but I know that isn’t interesting to everyone. Plus readers who are within the academy tend to want to put a blog to a name and I use a pseudonym. So I feel a bit lost and it is making me not want to write.

Going to the Bloggers Blog Awards was such a good experience. I loved meeting other bloggers and everyone was so friendly, yet it didn’t leave me inspired, more frustrated with my lack of committment to my blog.

What does this mean for the Lisabeth Westwood blog? I’m not sure yet but I’m not ready to quit. I guess just watch this space.