Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Things I'm Really Grateful for This Year

If you've read any of my 'end of year' blog posts before, you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of faddy resolution posts. This year I've also been watching people scramble to pick their three biggest achievements to post on a viral quote tweet, and I'm not sure I dig that either. It's great to shout about your successes if you're proud, so don't let me stop you. But if you're feeling pressured to come up with something impressive or you're finding that despite being happy for others, you can't help but compare your personal story with theirs, then know that you're not alone.

I don't want to shout about the fact that my only real achievement this year was that I completed a second course of CBT, after my mental health got pretty out of control, and that the panic attacks don't snatch my breath away from me nearly as often as they did only a few months ago. I don't want to talk about how much I've struggled. I'm just glad I've come out the other side of it, whether it's the end of the year or not.

I don't talk about this stuff a huge amount online because I feel like there are already plenty of people sharing their similar stories more articulately than I ever could. I've already allowed anxiety and depression to dominate my life and thoughts outside of this space and I finally feel like I'm on top of it, so I'll be damned if I let the bastard invade all of my writing too. 

So yes, I found 2017 pretty rough going, but there will be plenty who found it far worse. I'm grateful for my own resilience, and I'm grateful for the people who have supported me. I feel like I've changed and grown an awful lot, so I'm thankful for that, too. I've learned what I should and shouldn't give my time and energy to in order to stay 'sane' and get back on track. I've realised my own worth and am starting to embrace the fact that I'll always feel like a black sheep. I'm also grateful for medication and therapy and YouTube yoga routines and endless Netflix reruns of That '70s Show'. And Krispy Kreme donuts - whoever said you can't eat your problems was totally wrong.

Despite the above probably reading a little bit like the 3am tumblr post of an emo teenager, I'm actually feeling positive about 2018. I'm going to spend the first few months of the new year working on my confidence and trying new things, making up for all the time I spent in a negative head-space this year. 


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Budapest Diaries - Day One

Before Mat booked this trip for us, I'd felt as though I would like Budapest. I had heard there was plenty to do, and that it was a very affordable place to visit. What I didn't bank on is just how much I would fall for it. 

The Perfect Apartment

This was very much a budget trip for us back in October, having just been on our main family getaway to beautiful Crete, however we found that our money went so much further than we expected. We did everything we wanted to do and ate everything we wanted to eat (which is the most important thing!). Our flights were the usual Ryan Air cheap fares, and luckily they weren't among the many that were being cancelled at the time!

We stayed in a lovely little Air Bnb apartment, located on Andr├íssy Avenue, that was only £36 per night. It was about 15 minutes walk from the famous Szechenyi Baths in one direction, and 10-15 minutes from the Parliament building taking metro line 1. 

This was the perfect location for us, and we found public transport really easy to navigate. It was also a bargain, with a 72-hour travel card costing only £11 each. We were able to use these on the metro lines, buses, trams, boats - you name it! Of course, if you prefer to walk a lot, everything in Budapest is also doable on foot. 

The Craziest Views

Once we had been shown to our apartment and had dumped our bags, we headed straight into the city. Although we weren't initially sure how we wanted to spend our first day in Budapest, we ended up walking across the famous chain bridge and making our way up towards the very picturesque Fisherman's Bastion. 

You have to pay the equivalent of a couple of quid to walk along the top, but it's worth it. It's essentially a big terrace, designed to look like something straight out of the Gothic era - except it was actually only built in 1902. I felt a little bit like Cinderella walking up the (endless) steps. There was even a wedding party in full swing on one section of the terrace.

We had arrived just as the sun was starting to go down, and boy was it a sunset and a half! I hadn't seen too many pictures of Budapest before going - the whole time we were there I kept finding myself taken aback by how pretty this city is. I could've stayed up on the Bastion all day!

On a clear day, you can see for miles, with the majestic parliament building standing tall and Margaret Island separating the Buda and Pest banks. 

The Grand Palace

With the sun still setting, we decided to walk from the Bastion over to the other side of the hill, and see the Royal Palace in all its glory. I should add that it's worth seeing these impressive buildings both from up close and from the opposite side of the river. By day they look ornate and Gothic, and by night they're lit up and make the whole place magical.

After taking so many pictures that my Olympus Pen battery finally gave out, and my feet started to feel like they might drop off, we decided to get back down to river level via the Funicular Railway. It's a very quick trip down, but it's worth the experience of being on a train that's moving completely the wrong way!

The Best Burger

Just a short distance from the bottom of the Funicular Railway, we stumbled upon a restaurant called Meat Boutique. We decided to go in for dinner despite it being a little early at 6pm, partly because we were absolutely starving and partly because I thought the name was funny.

I wish I'd taken some phone snaps of our dinner - not only was the restaurant a gorgeous place to sit and eat, but the food was of a really high standard and the staff couldn't do enough for us. I think it may have been the best burger I've ever eaten, and I've had a lot of burgers!!

After that, we had a slow wander back to the metro and were soon back at the Air Bnb for an early night. Driving to the airport at 4am and walking 12km really takes it out of you...

I'll soon be posting what we got up to on days 2 and 3 of our break in Budapest, so I'll link them here when I do.

If you have any questions about visiting, just let me know in the comments!
© kelly anne rist

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