Everyone has a place they like to go to and one of those places (for me) is Chester. Trips to Chester started off being trips with school, learning about the Romans and then piling back on to a coach to head home. Then, when I got to secondary school and sixth form, these trips became an opportunity to spend time with friends, buy things we definitely didn’t need and get away from school work and teachers…at least for a few hours!
Once school ended, trips to Chester have taken on a new significance for me. My sister and I are incredibly close but, as we’ve grown older, we’ve become incredibly busy. So, doing things like trips to Chester not only allows us to unwind a little bit (because adult life is stressful, let’s face it!) it also allows us to spend time together without work, worries or whatever else getting in the way. Going to Chester has become a bit of a tradition for us, as it’s such a beautiful place to wander around, shop and forget about our troubles.
We decided to spend last Thursday and Friday in Chester, ate in Liverpool before catching the train to Chester. Despite being well and truly into my Classics Challenge, as I’ve already got through three of the classic books I’d set myself to read this year (you can see my progress on Goodreads), I spent the train journey getting started on Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. I’ve put that book back on my shelf, for now, but I’m already gripped so I can’t wait to get back to it soon.
Considering the fact we’re both on student budgets, despite my student days being well and truly over, we stayed in the Premiere Inn which is cheap, comfortable and close to everything you need: places to shop, eat and the train station. We spent the first part of the night in our room, watching repeats of old Would I Lie to You episodes, drinking gin and cider (because, everyone finds out in the end, the best part of a night out is pre-drinking). Then, after some snacks and hot drinks, we motivated ourselves to get ready and head out into the city centre for some drinks.
Our first place, because we’re fans of all things cheap and cheerful, was Wetherspoons. Love it or loathe it, there’s nothing better than a nice booth, good company and the cheap drinks that this pub chain offers. I settled on a raspberry, vanilla and meringue Love Gin which – honestly – wasn’t bad. It was fruity and sweet at first but, as I got to the end of it, I realised it was a bit sickly for my taste.
Next we headed to Lono Cove, a Polynesian paradise which offers fantastic cocktails and gorgeous scenery. As much as I do appreciate a gin, like a cider and tolerate tequila, I think you can’t go wrong with a cocktail. Honestly, give me anything with fruit and alcohol and I’ll be happy….for a few minutes at least! They’d ran out of piña colada, so I went with a plantation pineapple daiquiri.
Even though we’ve been to Chester plenty of times, we’re still yet to know where the good places to go out are. The last time we went, thanks to a trustworthy looking bouncer, we found ourselves in a Popworld that – in fact – wasn’t ‘full of people’. Thankfully, one of the staff at Lono Covo told us about Kuckoo. Once we adjusted to the red lighting, we realised the place was actually really cool. There were loads of pictures of indie icons, albums and signed pictures. Plus, the barmen had a great Spotify playlist on and – no matter what anyone says – I reckon the music can make or break a night out.
I had my second daiquiri of the night, this time I went with a pineapple and salted caramel daiquiri. I wasn’t expecting much but, honestly, the drink was amazing. I was worried it’d be too sweet with the pineapple with the caramel but it was actually just the right sweetness. It was a risky drink choice but, in the end, the risk paid off.
The next morning, we checked out of our room and had a shopping day. Obviously a shopping day has to begin with brunch (it’s an unwritten rule but trust me on this one), so we started off at Jaunty Goat, a cute cafe we always visit when we’re in Chester. It’s such a lovely setting, really relaxed with just enough hipster to offset the fact I don’t like fancy smancy coffees, and the food is incredible as well.
I went with my usual: scrambled eggs with toast and a side of smoked salmon (because, let’s be honest, if you’re going to go for brunch you have to be a bit extra). As per usual, it was so delicious and I’m pretty sure – if you gave me a few hours to digest – I would’ve come back for more and more and more. My sister got an apple and pear granola bowl which, judging by the fact I didn’t get a chance to swipe it, must’ve been delicious. After that, we shopped and headed home.
Though I’m trying to keep positive, there’s no denying – like a lot of us – the January blues have hit hard. I think we spend a lot of the first month of the year wanting to be “sorted” (whatever that means) and it’s a shock to the system when we realise it’s not the case. It’s very easy to have down days, days when you think you won’t achieve what you want or you aren’t doing things “right”, but this trip was a reminder for me that there are so many good days ahead.
So, to end this post, I urge you to book a trip. Take some time off. Do things that make you happy.