The countdown begins! China, ink, and one last great gig in Birmingham.

In exactly one month’s time, I’ll be beginning my internship with Roche in Basel Switzerland. Now seems like a good time for an update!

The Bund by night.

The Bund by night.

Firstly, I’d like to wrap up a few things from U21 Undergraduate Research Conference at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. I had such an amazing time, and met so many fantastic people. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it was genuinely inspiring to hear about the exciting research being carried out all over the world. I can’t thank everyone enough who made the week possible. Here’s some photos that never made it into my blog posts while I was out there!

An amazing street food vendor near the hotel - cooking up fresh rice and noodle dishes to order for only 10元 (about £1) a bowl!

An amazing street food vendor near the hotel – cooking up fresh rice and noodle dishes to order for only 10元 (about £1) a bowl!

More great food - this time at a neat little restaurant in Old Shanghai. This time I was really glad to have some Mandarin speaking dinner companions!

More great food – this time at a neat little restaurant in Old Shanghai. This time I was really glad to have some Mandarin speaking dinner companions!

Gardens in Hangzhou - we came here on a day trip thanks to the conference organisers

Gardens in Hangzhou – we came here on a day trip thanks to the conference organisers

They were even kind enough to send us all on a boat trip around Hangzhou Bay

They were even kind enough to send us all on a boat trip around Hangzhou Bay, which was amazing

We climbed up this pagoda in 38 degree heat - but it was worth it for the view!

We climbed up this pagoda in 38 degree heat – but it was worth it for the view!

The view of Hangzhou city from the top of a pagoda

The view of Hangzhou city from the top of a pagoda

So, that was my trip to China. A week was nowhere near enough to see all of Shanghai, but it was an amazing week nonetheless. It’s definitely given me the urge to travel more though – I came back and promptly booked a holiday to Turkey with my bff Rosie. We set off in about 12 days, so it’s shaping up to be a busy summer!

ink guys

ink guys

In the meantime, you might imagine I’d been sitting around and generally having a rest – ha! Boring. Since getting back from China, I managed to fit in meeting Caitlin Moran (and eagerly blogging about it here) and making a fairly eventful trip up to the West Midlands. I got myself a little going away present; a tattoo that I’ve been after for the best part of a year, thanks to the lovely Lizzie of the appropriately named Bon Voyage Tattoo Studio in Stourbridge. I can’t recommend her highly enough!

I won’t lie, it’s been met with a mixed reception – ranging from a highly satisfying, “Oh my god – and I mean that in a good way!” to a predictable, “I just wish you’d had something prettier…” Nonetheless, I love it. Without boring you with the oh-so-deep-and-meaningful motivation behind it, it’s exactly what I wanted and I wouldn’t change one thing. The detail Lizzie has put into it is just amazing (click on the image to zoom) – as is her other work. Her instagram page is well worth checking out – you might even spot my delightful back on there….

 

Aside from that, I also had the chance to catch Velvet Texas Cannonball supporting Rose Windows at the Oobleck in Digbeth.

I try and catch Velvet Texas Cannonball whenever they’re playing, so this might be the last gig I make it to before I move out to Switzerland, sadly! Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint. If 60s psychedelic garage-rock is your thing, they’re well worth a listen. The headliners, Rose Windows, were also fantastic. They came all the way from Seattle to bring us some great psych-y folk. Recommended.

I stayed up in the area for a little longer to go to a wedding (Congrats to Maz & Stu – have fun in the USA!) and then came back to my Mum’s house in Somerset. I’ve now got 4 weeks to get ready for the move to Basel – wish me luck! Any advice is very, very welcome…

 

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