Sea you in Blackpool!

This weekend I am in my favourite place of all time – BLACKPOOL. When you think of Blackpool, what do you think of? Do you think of hen do’s, the pleasure beach or donkey rides? As someone who considers Blackpool to be their second home, I can assure you that this magical place is much more than that! My grandma lives here so it is nice to be able to visit her and this lovely city at the same time! Here are some of my favourite things to do or see if you are looking for a close sea-side town near to Edge Hill…

  1. Cleveleys Beach

Cleveleys beach is a lovely place to visit if you want sun, sea and sand. You could almost imagine you are abroad in this weather so why not make the most of it?

  1. Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Whether you are into ballroom dancing or not, the grand Blackpool tower ballroom is amazing to visit. I am not much of a dancer myself, but I LOVE Strictly Come Dancing and have been to a couple of the Blackpool shows. The interior is stunning and I have not visited anywhere quite like it. It also has sentimental value for me as my grandparents often danced here when they were younger.

  1. Stanley Park

Stanley Park is not far from Blackpool Zoo, and makes one of the best days out. The speed boats and paddle boats are always a laugh when you have a very uncoordinated family… (tip: watch out for stray ducks when steering). There are many other activities available such as mini-golf, trampolining and of course…. ICE CREAM (if that counts as an activity). But if you are someone who appreciates scenery, it also has wonderful views and gardens.

I will stop there for now otherwise I could go on forever… let me know if you have visited these places in Blackpool! And remember… Blackpool is not just the promenade of rock candy and 2p machines, it has many more hidden gems besides!

Anna 🙂

Maintaining Old Friendships in New Places

If you decide to attend university quite far away from where you were previously based, you might be worried about how the distance will affect your current friendships. Even if you do stay “close to home,” your friends might be going off to uni and be the ones who are far away. But being physically distant does not have to distance your friendships. As important as it is to make friends at Edge Hill University on your course, in your halls, and in societies, it’s always nice to keep in touch with friends whom you may have spent a good few harrowing years of your life with.

Video calling

Whether over Facebook, FaceTime, or Skype, video calls can be a great way to keep up with your closest friends from home. I’ve found that organising an actual time to call is the best way to make sure these things actually happen – otherwise, life gets in the way and you may end up putting it off or inadvertently being busy.

Gaming

If you and your friends share an interest in video games, then it can be a wonderful way of spending time with them, whilst also relaxing after a day of work. Whatever your preferred platform, personally I’d say microphones are a must. Being able to chat about life whilst you play is pretty great. Minecraft, Destiny, and Borderlands have been some of the games I’ve played whilst catching up with friends.

Rabb.it

Video chat with people AND watch tv. With Rabbit, you can have a typical video call, but stream shows, movies or games at the same time, so you can experience them together. Something I used to do with friends back home all the time, I admittedly haven’t used it much since coming to uni, but it’s a great resource that people should know about!

Visiting

Although it can be a tad expensive, and requires a bit of planning, visiting your old friends (or having them visit you) is one of the best things you can do to keep your friendships alive. If you book trains in advance, you can get a huge discount – even more so if you have a railcard (Santander 16-25 Railcard anyone?).

New Groupchat

After people move off from sixth-form/college, you may experience the death of a groupchat. This may be a long and slow death, the chat lingering on, with fewer and fewer people messaging, or it may be a swift and painless death. Either way, once you realise who has decided to move on, why not make a new groupchat? One with people who are still committed to maintaining old friendships.

A lesson in surviving a visit from your parents

Now that I’m in my second year I have found my self going out more and going home less. When I was in my first year I was practically on the train home every weekend and now I find myself not even planning to go home at all. Of course this means that instead my parents are coming up here to visit me. I love my parents and I love seeing them, but when you’ve been living the independent life it can often be a shock to the system having your Mum arrive and within seconds her telling you that what you thought was a spotless kitchen actually looks like it has just been ransacked.

One of the most important things when having your parents come to visit is avoid the spontaneity. For me this isn’t an issue as my parents live over two hours away but for some parents may just wish to ‘pop in’. Organising a visit gives you time to prepare, and by prepare I mean spend the days leading up to it tidying and arranging fruit so your parents don’t think you’ve been living off noodles for 3 months.

Once you know that your parents are coming and you have made the necessary arrangements you can begin to think about how you will entertain them for the day. In my opinion you can’t go wrong showing them your accommodation, introducing the flatmates and then taking them for a tour around your new home town. Be prepared for your parents insisting that you are in charge since this is ‘your home’ whilst simultaneously telling you off for one thing or another.

If you are stuck for ideas on what to do with your parents Charley’s blog has some great ideas for things you can do on the cheap or even for free:

https://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/insideedge/2017/02/07/budget-days-out-for-liverpool-and-ormskirk/

As well as getting to see your family, them coming to visit you at university has many benefits. They often come up in the car to visit so can replenish your supplies and bring all the awkward sized items that you could never fit on the train. They can run you to the supermarket to stock up on ‘essentials’ whilst you work on your puppy dog eyes for when you get to the till as you think about your dwindling student loan. And last but not least the best thing about your parents coming to visit is the inevitable dinner you’ll go out for together, whilst you make the most of your parents hospitality.

Now obviously having your parents come to visit whilst you are in the midst of your new found independent lifestyle can be somewhat daunting. But make the most it. You may spend days anxiously awaiting their arrival, spend the day of their visit being on the receiving end of the 3 months worth of moaning that you’ve missed out on but once they have gone home you will feel a little sadness and that’s okay. Being away from home honestly makes you appreciate what you have both at university and at home as well and by being able to recognise what you have in both these environments really makes you realise how lucky you are.