I was born and raised on the outskirts of Sheffield, attended Sheffield Hallam University and got my first graduate job in Sheffield. I have been in this city pretty much my whole life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Don't get me wrong, I have visited a vast array of cities across the UK, and I lived in Leeds for a year but I've always been attached to Sheffield.
This city is special. It is a place bustling and buzzing with endless possibilities for residents and tourists alike. You can take a stroll into the city centre anytime - be it for a midweek meal out or a lazy Sunday morning coffee catch-up with a friend - and there'll be something exciting going on which you get drawn into. Walk into town in mid-July and you'll be faced with the unforgettable vibe of Tramlines music festival, where every bar and pub blasts the tunes of local up and coming bands into the streets of the city. Head to the Peace Gardens in August and you'll be faced with a beach! Sheffield by the Seaside ensures that even those who can't head to the coast that year still have an opportunity to grab a candy-floss and challenge a friend to a sandcastle competition. And then there's the pop-up fairground which fills the heart of the city every school holiday to help entertain those who are too young to enjoy Sheffield's huge variety of watering-holes. It is rare that a city can still surprise someone who has lived here their whole life, but that's what makes Sheffield exceptional.
This variety of events makes Sheffield feel up and coming, and as if by simply being in the city, you are a part of something new. Last summer we welcomed Jess Ennis back home from the Olympic games with a huge concert and celebration right in the centre of town. Thousands attended the event simply to congratulate Jess and to rejoice in our town's part in the country's sporting achievements.
One part of this city which truly makes it unique is what lies just outside its hustle and bustle. The Peak District is just on our doorstep, and you are never more than a 20min drive from a pint in a proper country pub. The views are spectacular, whether you drive up to see undisturbed panoramas of the rolling hills, or if you are greeted by thick atmospheric fog which conceals the idyllic villages from view until you find you are already in them.
But the really special thing about Sheffield is not the city itself, but the people that bring it to life. There's a real mix of ages, cultures, professions and backgrounds to the lives of those that inhabit this city, and that's what helps to make it a place for everyone. But this diversity of life comes together in many ways. One of my favourite pastimes is Modern Jive dancing, an exciting and contemporary approach to partner dancing which attracts the young and old, the professional and the amateur. I have been dancing and DJing at Modern Jive venues across the city for years now, and I can tell you that it's these little gems of events which keep us who live here happy and excited about Sheffield life.