Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I ♥ Nottingham





















Nottingham was my first experience of city living, you could say it was something of a culture shock moving there for University at 18 when I was a country girl born and raised - the first fortnight (in between Freshers events) was full of tearful phone calls to my parents telling them how horrible the place was. They were brilliant and urged me to stick with it a little longer, give it a proper chance and see how I felt at Christmas. Dad frequently dropped by on his way home from various non-existent work trips to check I was okay (he's a legend) and Mum sent little notes whenever she forwarded my post. It isn't cool to say it but although I was meeting great people and experiencing new things I missed home; I missed being woken up by Belle sticking her nose in my ear and snuffling away, I missed having my little sister on the other side of the door, I missed endless chats with my Dad and giggling away with my Mum, I missed our little house on the edge of a wood down a bone-shaking farm track and being surrounded by fields. 

Somewhere along the line I fell in love with the city, met some of the loveliest people in my life there and had some brilliant experiences. My first pitcher of Margarita, falling in love, endless gigs, discovering Chai tea latte, getting my first tattoo, and having my name in print for the first time go firmly onto the pile made of win. A mugging, a couple of bereavements and a very disappointing experience with sushi - I tried, oh I tried so hard to like sushi - were not so brilliant, but I feel as though I came of age there. I never stopped missing home but there was an energy about Nottingham that kept me buzzing, there was always something to see or do. Frequent pilgrimages were made to Waterstones (if you haven't been to the Nottingham branch, believe me when I say it is tantamount to Mecca) to pick up 3 for 2 before impatiently trotting over the road to set up camp in the corner of a now defunct branch of Starbucks for a couple of hours reading away and slurping my bodyweight in Chai latte. That was something else I discovered in Notts, there is nothing better than some great conversation with a friend who just gets you, but I also like my own company. Fopp became something of a second home - it was 5 minutes walk from my student flat and crammed with joy. If you're wondering what the hell Fopp is; in a nutshell it's an independent music store selling an amazing range of genres at equally amazing prices, music alone would be enough to light my fire but when you add in the bargain-priced books and DVDs you're well away, although it does look curiously industrial considering it is housed in a gorgeous period building. There was a vintage clothing shop above a hairdressers just off the market square that I'd retreat to when I had a bad day, hidden away and cramped but there were so many gems if you had the patience to flick through the racks.

Anyway - I digress, what I really meant to ramble on about was my visit last Tuesday to catch up with Sara who writes one of my favourite blogs, I should say though that while it felt like a bloggers day out; camera phones at the ready and litres of tea and coffee quaffed between mooning over all things bookish, pretty or vintage - I actually know Sara of old. We met in 2007 while studying English at Nottingham Trent and initially bonded over a shared love of books before discovering that actually we had so much in common it was ridiculous. Admittedly we differ a bit on our opinion of buskers . . . . she melts inside at the strum of an acoustic guitar and the vocals of a scruffy-handsome mid twenties sort of guy while I feel a bit embarrassed by the whole thing. Didn't stop me making up an entire song entitled 'Sara Loves the Scruffy Buskers' though, and singing away at her to the bemusement of whoever was unfortunate enough to wander past in earshot of my dulcet tones. I don't think she appreciated it when I pointed out a tramp with a tin whistle as a possible conquest either . . . Tramps aside (sure he'd have been more appealing if he'd had a dog on a string) we spent the day discovering new little shops and reliving my city-girl years in old favourite haunts. Exciting results being that Nottingham has sprouted some more excellent vintage and charity shops since I moved over the hills and far away at the end of 2010 and I can't wait to go back and re-visit them all. Come lunchtime - well two o'clock, Sara introduced me to another little corner of lovely that sprang up in my absence: The White Rabbit Teahouse where we enjoyed a lush tea for two. It's a tiny little place with only 7 or 8 tables but it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say it is packed to the rafters with the sort of vintage charm I adore; cloched cake stands on a Victorian looking dark-wood sideboard, a library of vintage teapots on the shelves, vintage crockery as far as the eye can see and all sorts of old knick knacks to look at. We'll be back, and I mean that in as non-threatening a way as possible. Feeling a bit full of tea and cake we then sauntered around enjoying the sunny-but-breezy weather before hitting the shops again with a vengeance for the last couple of hours. Last off we wound up in Topshop where I bought some incredible makeup (yes this is still me, I'm not an impostor) that made me giddy, but that's another post . . . When it came to heading home I felt sad, it had been such a fantastic day catching up with Sara and with Nottingham that I didn't want it to end. I'll keep you posted on shops to check out next time I go back!

24 comments:

  1. Very nice! I don't think I've been - well , not as an adult anyway. You have made me want to add it to my list of places to go xxx

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  2. the way you've written about homesickness is very true to life. I felt the same when I moved away from home for uni and it is really hard until you acclimatise a bit!

    I really, really enjoyed this post, your pics are gorgeous as usual but I really enjoy it when you get a bit wordy and have a ramble lol. Can imagine it would be so nice being your friend and I don't want that to sound stalker-ish! x

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    1. It really is, I can vouch for that! She's even more ace in person!! Even when singing songs at you.

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  3. Oh, how I love my hometown! And I have to say your pictures are so much better than mine, even when they're pretty much the same shot - I guess its because you've had pratice at snapping away at such things! Next time we'll photograph clothes instead ;p

    I still maintain that even a dog on a string would not have improved that tramp!!

    But yes, its definitely got to be a repeated experience some time soon - the visit, not you singing at me! ;p

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  4. amazing pictures. i love nottingham as well. it's so pretty and historical there.

    xoxo FlirtingwithFashion

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  5. Beautiful pictures! My mom was born and raised in Nottingham, I'm sure I was there at some point but we left England when I was only 8 so I have no memory of that particular city...lovely though!

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  6. Nottingham looks such a gorgeous city and it's one i've never been too. I suck at visiting British cities south of York!

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  7. if ever you happen to go to Toronto and i happen to be there at the same time, i promise you i will change your mind about sushi. it can be so amazing! but i have yet to have a successful sushi experience in england. don't give up on it yet! ;)

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  8. I love Nottingham - these are lovely photos; I'm sure the 5th one is a building I've squealed at, stopped and taken a pic of too...

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  9. Love these pics! And of course your writing. I go to uni in Nottingham too (I'm a Uni of student! Good old inter-uni rivalry haha!) and there are some lovely aspects to the city. I guess the downfall of the student areas is being picked on as targets of muggings (2 people have attempted to mug me but I was luckily helped by passers by) and break ins. But I guess it's the same in every city. I love how easy it is to get to places like Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield from Nottingham too - ideal place to live really! xx

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  10. Beautiful photos! It makes me want to move to nottingham and never leave!

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  11. I love how you have sold nottingham to me, and i live there haha it is a great city and i wish people wouldnt listen to the bad rep it gets on tv most times! Love your blog sweetie xx

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  12. You've made Nottingham sound fab, I've only been once for a hen do and it was just a night out so we never saw the nice side! Glad you had a great time xxx

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  13. Yay Nottingham! :) Which shop was it with the painted lady faces on the wall, i dont recognise it? x

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  14. Ah, that home-sickness, I remember it well.
    This post left me not only wanting to visit Nottingham ASAP, but also to spend the day shopping and tea-swilling with you.
    A lovely insight into your 'coming of age' years.

    Lucy x

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  15. I loved this post and your photos are lovely.My daughter is hopefully off to Nottingham Uni in Oct if all goes well with exams. We had a lovely day there when we visited for the open day and found some of the great vintage shops you mention. Next time we go we will definitely be visiting The White Rabbit Tea Room.
    Ann x

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  16. Well I love Nottingham too of course, but then it is the city of my birth. In recent years I've avoided the city centre when going back to UK to visit family, but in February I surprised myself by actually enjoying walking around the old place. I'm back next month so I must look out for The White Rabbit Tea House.

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  17. I love the look of that Vintage Obsession store.Looks lovely. All your photos are gorgeous as usual.

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  18. Oh I LOVE Nottingham! Spent masses of time there when my OH and I were courting, many years ago. Haven't been back there for years but it's always on our 'return-to' list.

    K xx

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  19. I really enjoyed reading this Jem, your pics are always gorg, but this time it was your words that really got to me.
    My knowledge of Nottingham is limited to Robin Hood, I think the evil sherrif was from there, wasn't he?

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  20. It sounds like you had a great day out. You take such stunning photo's, I felt like I took a mini trip there myself :)
    The White Rabbit tea house looks just so sweet! I love the mis-matched china and the lovely spoons.

    Magie x

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  21. I’m going to shock you here, but I have never been to Nottingham before! It sounds like an interesting city, full of quirks and livelihood. It’s funny how you can become attached and so fond of a place that holds so many wonderful memories xxx

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  22. What a lovely post about what looks like a lovely city. Folk are quick to put a downer on Britain, but we do live a great country, don't you think?!

    http://edenfound.blogspot.co.uk/

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  23. I've never been to Nottingham before but i just loveee a glimpse of it from your beautiful photos! i especially would love to visit the white rabbit tea house if i ever go there! i just love how you wrote this post, about your friend sara and the song u sang for her hehe, I know how you feel about living in a city and far from your loved ones, that's how i feel when i first moved to the UK but yes i met wonderful people, learnt new things and although im still homesick but there are things and people that make me feel like im home!

    xx susan

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