Category Archives: Summer

What the f*** is an Arboretum?

All roads lead to... arboretum?
All roads lead to… arboretum?

It’s summer time and that means it’s the season for my department to go on it’s annual walk around the Surrey countryside. Last year we went through the Surrey hills, but this year was a little different…

Starting off at the university, the aim was to walk to Winkworth Arboretum, a good walk along the River Wey, and through the trees and fields around Milford and Godalming. It took over three hours in the hot summer sun to make it to the arboretum, but it was well worth it!

Winkworth Arboretum
Winkworth Arboretum – This picture really doesn’t do it justice

An arboretum, pronounced are-bore-ree-tum, not arr-bee-tor-ee-um as I had originally thought, is essentially a botanical garden, but with trees instead of plants and flowers – which basically means, it’s massive. We spent probably an hour walking around and still had barely scratched the surface of this place. I have to go back because some of the views were just stunning, and I hear it really comes into it’s own during spring and autumn.

If it’s a sunny day and you fancy a bit of a trek, or want to cycle, you can’t go far wrong with visiting this place a few miles south of Guildford.

Winkworth Arboretum is run by the National Trust, and an entrance fee applies. There is a small coffee shop and toilets at the entrance which, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find to be a sweet reward for all your hard work getting there.

Songs for the Summer

I’m not usually a fan of what is going on in the music charts, the thud thud of club bass and rap verses makes every song sound the same, and not in a good way. But, recently I think there’s been an resurgence of classic song-writing techniques – especially with what Pharrell Williams has been doing – starting with Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, then Blurred Lines, Happy, Love is the Answer and most recently, SING with Ed Sheeran.

So here’s what I’ve been into the last couple months. It’s a mix of Pharrell’s groove and funk, slower soul and some hip-hop vibes for good measure. I think all of these picks provide a great soundtrack to whatever you’re doing this summer.

Pharrell Williams – G I R L. Of the back of all his success in 2013, Pharrell’s new album will get you on your feet with some great beats and unique falcetto tones.
Causic Love
Paolo Nutini – Causic Love. It’s been a long time since Paolo’s last album “These Streets”, but it was worth it! His Scottish spark is funkier than  before (which I love), but also very deep in some places. I especially love “Numpty” when he compares starting a relationship to failing to build a house, saying one day he’ll wake up and say “who’s that bitch with my second name?”
John Newman – Tribute. On the back of my love for the Rudimental album last year that just screams a BBQ party vibe, this debut album is more of the same, but with less club and more soul.
X (Multiply)
Ed Sheeran – X (Multiply). The last time I was this excited about an album release was for Daft Punk’s last year, and we all know how that went down. I loved Ed’s first album, but this takes it to a whole new level. More Hip Hop-esque in SING and more emotion in Thinking Out Loud makes this better for partying and chilling alike.
Jason Mraz – YES! Finally ending on another hotly-anticipated release. I played Love Is A Four Letter Word to death last summer, the saxophone solos and catchy tunes carried summer to euphoria. This album is more chilled, with orchestral strings playing a big part in the songs. And, having just bought tickets to see Jason Mraz at the Royal Albert Hall in September, it goes without saying that I’m wetting my pants for this to be in my earholes.

Let me know if there’s a song or album that you can’t get out of your head at the moment, I’d love to hear what you’re into and I’m always on the lookout for new music to work and play too.

Until next Thursday x

A Summer in Lost Photographs

Today I want to walk you through some of the amazing times I had over the summer using photographs you haven’t seen before… let us begin…

Like so many good summer’s this one started with the end of the University year. Tradition is to go down to the lake on campus, have drinks and be merry with friends. The picture tells the rest of the story pretty well.
Will “drying off” after going on the wettest log flume ever at Drayton Manor theme park. We went there for the day with his sister and my sister because the canal goes right past the entrance! That first boat trip of the summer was amazing and provided much needed time off to relax.
Will and I being our usual stupid selves on one of the rides!
This was the summer that started me going to Schism rock club in Woking. The first Friday of every month is a rock/metal night which lots of our friends attend. Great atmosphere!
The first social organised by the committee of the Postgraduate Society was a Games Night in Wates House pub on campus. To our surprise, over 30 people showed up! It was a great success!
Ankur and I attended Grad Ball. A bitter sweet affair since it was the last time I’ve seen a lot of my friends who were graduating. But an amazing night, my favourite Grad Ball ever! And I’ve been to 5 now…
A photo of Ankur and I from a stall making mock movie posters at Grad Ball. Ankur makes a very attractive princess Leia!
Picnic in Richmond Park! Lots of climbing trees, eating cous-cous and chasing deer. How middle-class of us.
Boat Trip number 2! Only a weekend this time, but despite the injuries, everyone had a huge laugh! Highlights include eating wild boar sausages, randomly going to a rock club in Wolverhampton and playing the Ukulele for everyone :)
My 24th birthday was just a massive party! Hiring a room at the local church in London and having 30 friends eat and drink the night away! Here’s one of my presents, very awesome!
Bristol! The home of ALL THE CIDER! Great catching up with friends and seeing a city I’ve never visited before! I just wish Guildford had this much choice of cider… although maybe it’s for the best.
The Postgraduate Society stall at Freshers Fayre! We got over 150 sign-ups in one afternoon! The year is going to be big!
Our first Meet & Greet for new Postgrads took me by surprise when over 30 people showed up! We made it work though, can’t wait for the next one!

So that’s just a small snippet of the last few months, we haven’t even touched on the random nights out to Tickled Ivory, or the Comedy Nights at The Stoke, or the many trips to the cinema, or seeing Jamiroqui live, or trips to Cambridge… the list goes on! It’s been a seriously great summer! And lots to look forward to going into the last few months of the year :)

Stay classy x

Surrey in the Sunshine

My bike was stolen on Friday night, so I was forced to buy a new bike this weekend. Not necessarily the worst thing in the world, as the last one had lasted me the best part of 8 years and was in a bit of a state. But, alas.

To put the new bike through it’s paces, and because I needed an excuse to enjoy the sunshine, I went for a cycle to the Silent Pool, about a 45-minute cycle East of Guildford, near the North Downs. It’s a very tranquil place, and the ride involved a lot of rolling hills and open fields…

Switzerland & Paris

While working for Sony Professional Services over the summer I had two trips to Switzerland and one to Paris. I wasn’t about to let the good photo opportunities pass so I took my camera along with me and had a play with some sunset shots from the plane and night shots of the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy.

Another One Bites The Dust

First exam done! Only 1 to go! After next Friday I will have completed all the university exams I will ever have to do in my life! Damn!

The last week has been great! Despite having to revise with the weather like it is can be a distraction, but going down to the lake for a spot of lunch every day is such bliss! It’s such a shame that just as the weather gets good everyone leaves university! Campus looks so beautiful this time of year!

  • Happiness. 7 out of 10
  • Tiredness. 0 out of 5
  • Workload. 7 out of 10 (still revision to go!)
  • Last Meal. I haven’t had breakfast! That’s why I’m so hungry! Damnit!
  • Song of the day. Michael Kiwanuka – I’m Getting Ready
  • Thought for the day. “If you’re going through hell. Keep going.” – Winston Churchill
  • What I’m Doing Now. Watching the Monaco Grand Prix! Our weather is as good as theirs! Haha!