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Sunday 22 September 2019


Happy place, you say? You’re looking at her – well, one of her at least. I've procured a few happy places throughout my (almost) 25 years roaming this here earth and, to go hand in hand with my recent look-like-I-slept-with-a-hanger-in-my-mouth mood, I wanted to share them with the world. Enjoy.

In the North corner? Altrincham Market, Manchester. Come on folks, it was pretty much ~a given~ that Manchester would be on this list – and here it comes, roaring in as numero uno. Finding this bustling-come-tranquil spot back in 2017 was a game-changer for me. Thinking I'd explored all of the magic that my favourite city had to offer, it went and proved me wrong. Typical Manchester. In the two years (quite literally ~today~) that I've been living in the South of England, I've visited the North West three or four times. Sadly, this little haven hasn't featured on the agenda – but I can feel a reunion on the horizon for 2020.

In the South corner? Christopher Place, St Albans. The last 12 months have been extremely trialling for me – and that's actually an ~under~statement. But last October, when I first started to get an inkling that I would never feel at home down South, I stumbled across this hidden gem within St Albans. My heart was suddenly full once more. Buntings decorating the pathway, a handful of my favourite shops scattered across the street, kids playing in the courtyard, the scent of pudding wafting over from a food vendor... there's nothing quite like it. Thank you for finally helping me feel grounded, St Albans. I owe you a hecka lot.

In the European corner? Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence. Yes, Manchester may be my favourite place on the entire planet – but this spot in Florence is a close second. Having climbed what felt like a gazillion steps in the burning heat, I finally made it to the most beautiful view Florence has to offer: Michelangelo's Square. From the South of the River Arno, overlooking the magnificent Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, I felt at peace. I plonked my tush on a wall slightly below the square, away from the mayhem of a thouand camera flashes, and just sat. And breathed. And reflected. And smiled. And sighed. And found happy.

In the international corner? Washington Square Park, New York City. Smack bang in the middle of NYU campus and with the most breathtaking view of the Empire State Building sits a dainty park with a fountain. What an extraordinary feeling it is to stop in the middle of the city that never sleeps and revel in absolute silence, to feel an overwhelming sense of calm amongst the madness of the Big Apple. That's exactly what I found in Washington Square Park. Studying in NYC had never seemed more dreamy. And maybe I ~was~ dreaming, but I could have sworn I saw the stars beyond the bright lights of the big city.

No matter your happy place, may it shower you with peace, strength, and – most importantly – unrivalled, unprecedented happiness that'll last a lifetime (or two).


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