Sunday, 21 January 2018

A CITY GIRL'S GUIDE TO GETTING AWAY


Unless you've been reading this blog with your eyes closed, you'll know that I'm a fan of a Scottish night away. In fact there's nothing I love more than a regular one or two night escape and by the time we had hit mid-January of 2018, I had already booked a weekend near Dunoon (for a lovely friends hen), a night in Dundee, a night in the borders, another weekend on the Isle of Skye (for that lovely friends wedding) and I am currently pricing up a night in Torridon and a jaunt over to the Isle of Mull with Ava to see Tobermory.

I've tried to explain to that kid that the shop & Balamory characters don't actually exist. And that the locals don't all dress in fluorescent coloured clothing. But she's having none of it. So I guess she's gonna have to discover it herself the hard way.

I'm often accused of being a juxtaposition. A walking contradiction. Some struggle to understand how the gal who likes nothing more than eating in fancy restaurants, constantly needs a high speed wifi connection and who loves sipping free fizz at some fancy blogger event can crave the solitude and escape of the highlands so much. But truthfully that is where I would rather be. And I've made a promise to myself that at around my mid-fifties, that is exactly where you will find me. On an island or a remote Scottish fishing village. Hunter wellies & cosy sweaters, growing my own fruit and veg out the back. Getting my shopping at the only Co-op around for miles and drinking in the same old local where everyone knows each other's names. 

Hell, I might even drive a Landrover.

It's not everyone's dream.

But it's mine.

In the meantime though, I'm happy to settle for city life while watching my daughter grow. And these nights away are the perfect balance to satiate me until it's time for her to flee the nest and for me to disappear up north. So I've been thinking of all all the different components that make the perfect night away for me. All the different little bits that make it so much fun. And I've composed a little list. A city girl's guide to getting away if you will. 

So here's what you need...

  1. Music. I almost always prefer to take the car when going on nights away. I always have a list as long as my arm of castles I want to check out, viewpoints I want to stop at for snaps and hidden attractions that are off the beaten track. So en route to your destination, you need good tunes. I have lots of playlists on my Spotify for trips such as these. Because believe me, there is nothing more satisfying than having your foot to the floor on an open road, belting out Pink Floyd tunes at the top of your lungs.
  2. Coffee. This has become a little bit of a tradition of mine, and no road trip is complete without a pit stop at Starbucks or Costa to get a massive latte for the journey. There's something about sipping a hot coffee as you speed over the Erskine Bridge, knowing it's the last large commercialised coffee chain you are going to see in a while, that makes me feel all warm and happy inside.
  3. Room snacks. Likewise, no matter who is accompanying me on my journey, a supermarket stop off before you hit the open road is obligatory to stock up on your favourite crisps and chocolates for the bedroom. But if you don't get a chance then panic not, in my experience every town in Scotland north of Stirling has a decent sized Co-op, so if necessary, you can always stock up when you get there.
  4. Walking Boots. Despite the fact that a couple of years ago I would have been more interested in the jacuzzi than a jaunt up a big hill during one of my Scottish escapes, these days I'm usually dying to get out and do some walking. So if the weather is permitting then walking boots are most definitely a must. Especially as the higher up this country you go, the more beautiful it seems to get.
  5. Bubble bath. Do not forget the bubble bath. And when booking your hotel make sure and remember to get a room with a tub! Whether it's to light some candles, drink some fizz & indulge in some sexy time with a loved one, or to soak your bones on your own post hill climb, there is no feeling more decadent than lounging in a roasting hot hotel bubble bath before dinner.
  6. Lochs. Speaking of water, about 90% of my hotel stays are located somewhere near water. There's nothing more breathtaking than waking up in your room, throwing open the curtains and watching the water glistening against the backdrop of some snowy mountains. It's even better when you can still see that stunning view over breakfast. So when you are checking in, try and remember to reserve a window table for the next morning
  7. Pool table. I have a confession to make, I'm terrible at pool. And I literally never play it in the city. But give me a run down local pub in the heart of the highlands and a pint of fine Scottish ale and I will already have my fifty pences stacked up thank you very much. Same goes for darts. However despite being utterly delighted at myself for winning my first ever game of darts in a pub in Fort William, subsequent games have led me to the conclusion that unfortunately, that was more than likely a fluke.
  8. Seafood. I'm a lover of seafood anyway, but when I'm away it's usually the first thing I order come dinner time. Whether it's salmon smoked at the local smokehouse or massive langoustines courtesy of Loch Fyne, you can rest assured that is how I will be filling my belly in the evening. The same goes for local beers. I drank a delicious pint of Eilean-Or the last time I was in Skye and maybe it's psychosomatic, but it's still one of my favourite beers to date.
  9. Whisky. And speaking of booze, there is nothing that gives me a warmer, cosier feeling inside than sipping a really good single malt in front of an open coal fire. Preferably watching the snow falling outside. While listening to some live folk music. Oh my god, how long till I turn fifty five?
  10. History. It's no secret how patriotic I am, and the older I get the more of a geek I turn into. So whether it's exploring crumbling castles, discovering ancient cairns or even just taking pictures of pretty bridges, if it's got a bit of Scottish history about it, consider me there.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

LOVING YOU'S A BLOODSPORT


Although the romantic in me has been guilty of looking at them through rose tinted glasses in the past, when I hear people talk about Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, I do sometimes roll my eyes a little.  Having met on a film set in 1964, the two movie stars fell madly in love and went on to make up and break up a multitude of times over the course of many years. They were deeply in love and thanks to an inability to ever really stay away from one another, ended up marrying twice. Although eventually settling apart, they were never able to truly let go, and only days before his death at 58, it's said that Burton penned one final love letter to Elizabeth. Elizabeth was eventually buried with the letter.

The reason I roll my eyes isn't because they weren't in love. I truly believe they were. Madly. The reason I roll my eyes is because in the interests of fairy tale romanticism, people these days tend to conveniently forget the harsh, bitter truth to the story. That their relationship was toxic and dysfunctional. A rollercoaster of fights, break ups and drink fulled rages. 

We want to believe it was the greatest love story ever told. 

Because we want to believe in love. 

A relationship like that is one I can relate to. As I spent nearly two years in a similar cycle. And I think that anyone who has been in that situation can relate to the dark and frustrating patterns that emerge from unions like it. Despite loving each other, we just couldn't make it work. For every magical weekend spent away together, playing pool, exploring Scotland and lovingly waking up in each others arms, there was a weekend of not talking to one another, avoiding each others phone calls and angrily batting emails back and forth to each other. For every open road we drove together, singing loudly to songs together, holding hands and sipping Starbucks together, there was soul destroying fights with one another, wild accusations and passionate proclamations that we never again wanted to see one another. And for every passionate night spent in bed together, naked and wrapped around each other, talking about our desires, dreams and wants for one another, there was nasty heat of the moment insults thrown at each other, drunken tempestuous rows and jealous challenges chucked in the face of one another. The relationship was probably the most passionate and intimate of my relationships to date. But it was also one of the most stressful, frustrating and emotionally weakening experiences I have ever endured. 

There are many theories thrown around by psychologists as to why people stay in these kinds of relationships. Many get off on the drama, feel alive being close to the conflict. Some are too scared to leave, too fearful of being on their own. For others it comes down to low self esteem or a lack of courage. But for me it was none of those things. For me it was love. It's taken me a long time to come to a point where I could write about it. Because before I write about anything I need clarity and that is something that can only ever be yielded through time. But almost two years after the demise of that particular relationship, I can look back with open eyes, searing honesty and an absolute certainty as to why I stayed. Why I went back. And why I never really wanted it to end. 

I was in love. And where there is love there is hope. And that is the simple truth of it.

A relationship so turbulent, toxic and chaotic changes you. It makes you a different person to the one who originally entered it. Even almost two years on, while genuinely happy with my life, I know that it has left marks on me that will never go away. I'm wary now in a way I wasn't before. When I do meet someone I often feel like a bystander, like I'm not viewing the interactions from within.  I cautiously watch from the sidelines, almost like I'm watching a movie, interested to see which way it will go. 

When two people who still genuinely and passionately love each other cut ties, there's an indelible mark left on you both. You carry around a secret. You carry around a knowledge. A knowledge that makes you different. Nowadays when I speak to someone who is going through a similar thing or I see the turmoil in the eyes of a friend who is keeping things a secret, I am careful to let them know they can come to me. I am careful to look them in the eye and to tell them that I am there. That I won't ever get sick of the stories or roll my eyes at the incessant break-ups. That I will listen. That I have been there. And that I know what it is like.

A year before her death, in a wheelchair but still mentally alert, Elizabeth told a journalist "Richard is the only one I truly loved and still care about. I shall miss him until the day I die". She was then buried the following year, along with that last love letter he wrote her.

It's easy to tell someone they should walk away. It's easy to tell yourself the same thing. But it's not always that easy to actually do it. In my opinion love is love and love is real. If I learned anything from my passionate, turbulent and bittersweet encounter it's that love does exist. But that love is harsh, hard and sometimes unforgiving. That love is not always the movie style fairy tale we all so desperately wish for.

Just like Elizabeth and Richard were to discover for themselves, love doesn't always work. And recognising that, smiling even when it sometimes still hurts and having the courage to accept it is all we can really do. It's accepting that no one was right and that no one was wrong. 

It's accepting that good things still happen. 

That love is real. 

And that in the end, everything always ends up ok.

'If you bring two bar magnets together, there are two things that can happen: if you bring a north pole and a south pole together, they attract and the magnets may stick together. If you bring two north poles together, or two south poles together, they repel and the magnets push each other away'.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

L O V E S


  1. Adventures. I started the year off perfectly with a spot of adventuring last weekend. I took a day trip out to the Scottish Borders where we visited St Mary's Loch & Gray Mare's Tail, which was followed by a peruse around the pretty little town of Moffat. Where we might have spent more than a lot in the sweetie shop. I also checked out the lost mining village of Mavis Valley on Sunday, before stuffing my face with friends at Kimchi Cult. Already excited for next weekends adventures! 
  2. Coffee. One of my favourite resolutions this year was to give up my horrendously healthy but awful for your teeth habit of a hot water and lemon first thing every morning. Instead I have been firing up the coffee machine upon awakening and then rustling myself up the frothiest creamiest coffees to go before I leave for work. Those things are becoming a life saver when I step out into the cold frosty air and see how long it's going to take for the car to defrost.
  3. Downtime. As the poster girl for always having something to do, I tend to keep us pretty busy with planned out day trips and meeting up with friends. But around the start of December I decided to try and do a little less and just take some time out for ourselves. It's been lovely to spend the odd day in our pyjamas just playing board games, watching movies and snacking and I've really enjoyed having some time to myself to just chill. I had no idea how indulgent having nothing to do actually was!
  4. Booze. Because there's always a mention of booze somewhere in there isn't there? But I couldn't not mention the amazing Peaky Blinders Gin & Whiskey I was sent recently to try. Being a fan of the show for a while now, I was excited to road test the bottles over Christmas and can confirm that the stuff is good. While the whiskey doesn't quite hit the spot that a really good Scottish single malt does, the gin tastes great. It also looks exceptionally cool in my gin collection. This girl loves a gimmick.
  5. Skincare. Now I'm gracefully descending into my thirties (I say gracefully), I really am on a one woman mission to start taking care of my skin properly. So I've been investing in all the cleansing oils and serums. I've also been experimenting with a bunch of strange looking Korean stuff that came highly recommended to me. As apparently those guys know their skincare. I have no idea either but if you have any good recommendations then feel free to slide into my DM's over on Insta.
  6. Music. You know sometimes you listen to some artists that have been kicking around for ages and just think, where have I been? That's kinda the spiritual Spotify journey I'm on at the minute. I've recently been discovering the unbelievable talents of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Iain Morrison & Gerry Cinnamon. With maybe a bit of Bruce Springsteen thrown in for good measure. Because you can't beat a bit of The Boss.
  7. Forgotten Botanic Gardens Railway Station. I recently managed to sneak into the forgotten railway station situated underneath the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow. Having went prepared to get seriously muddy, it was actually surprisingly easy to get into. And very cool! If abandoned places is your thang then I highly recommend you check it out. 
  8. Busy B. I have been delighting in finally getting to use the new stationery I was gifted after a recent trip through to Edinburgh to attend the Busy B 2018 launch event. Their stuff is so beautiful. Doesn't new stationery make that first day of the year back at work just that little bit easier to handle though? Sometimes I think I couldn't be any girlier if I tried.
  9. Snow. When Ava informed me around the middle of November that wherever she posted her letter to Santa from this year had to have snow, the pressure was on. The only place I could think of that wasn't too much of a drive from the city was Tyndrum. Because a heap of stops at The Green Welly Stop had me nostalgically thinking that whenever we drove through there, there was often snow. So I took a punt and booked us a night at the end of November. And we were in luck. So much so that as I watched it continue to fall, I was starting to worry we might not get home the next morning. But we found a postbox and Ava managed to post her letter from the snowy surroundings she had so wished for. Kinda made my heart melt a little.
  10. The Wee T-Shirt Company. Nothing gives me more pleasure than supporting small start ups and local businesses. Which is why I love The Wee T-Shirt Company so much. Glasgow based, and run by amazing fellow mama Siobhan, these guys do the the cutest little custom made clothes for kiddos. Their Scottish Tees collection is particularly gorgeous so if you are looking for the perfect gift then you should definitely check them out. 

Friday, 5 January 2018

YOU ARE ENOUGH


The other day Ava and I were discussing something and I made an offhand remark about somebody being on a diet. Her reaction took me by surprise. She looked up at me with genuine interest and said, "Mummy, what's a diet?"

 I couldn't have been happier. Although I found it a bit unusual that at the age of 6, she had no idea what the word diet meant. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember my post on the day a three year old boy broke my heart. After that rather upsetting incident, I swore to myself that I wouldn't ever expose Ava to the constant fat fears, size zero desires and insistent pressure put upon women these days to fit into some kind of idealistic size zero aesthetic. I threw away my bathroom scales and I haven't weighed myself in front of her since. I never use the word fat in front of her because I don't think it has kind or positive connotations and I encourage her to have a healthy attitude towards food that focuses on balance. It seems to be working.

I'm asked constantly online how I maintain a size ten dress size given how much I am always cooking, eating and Instagram Story'ing my snacking. People constantly question why I'm 'not huge' given my insane love of all things edible. But hey guess what? I'm not exactly a size zero either guys. I'm slim but by no means skinny, I hate my thighs and have a bit of a tummy. And I most certainly have an arse you can more than grab onto.

I hate low fat products and think they are a contradiction in terms. I use proper butter, would rather pour skimmed milk down the sink than put it in my coffee and I always keep double cream in the fridge for those 'shit what am I gonna cook tonight' last minute risottos. I am a massive fan of the 'good fats' like oily fish, avocados and nuts and seeds. All things that are high in fat and calories. But good for you if you don't eat them in excess. I love salads and vegetables but just cannot get on board with fruit. I operate an 80/20 rule. I eat as healthily as I possibly can during the week (bank holidays and the few days before my period obviously excluded) and then have what I want at the weekend. And that means bacon for brunch, crisps while the Saturday night steaks are cooking and sticky toffee pudding after the Sunday dinner. If I fancy something sweet after my dinner during the week I will still have it. Usually a few squares of dark chocolate or a small bag of Ava's Haribo. I just save the really good stuff (like a family sized bar of galaxy or my body weight in cheese) till the weekend.

I'm also a big fan of the fasting diet and although I don't strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of the popular 5/2, I have adopted my own version. Two or three days a week I will eat only dinner. And it seems to work for me. Although I understand that there are many people who can't go without food for more than 12 hours without fear of stabbing someone, I just find this easy, natural and the right thing for my body. But it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle choice and an approach to eating that I have been practising for years. And that's why Ava doesn't know what a diet is.

Because diets don't work.

Back in 2015, I wrote that: 'the important features we need to succeed in this world are learned behaviours. They are discipline, education, determination, drive and positivity'. All things that I believe are needed in order to maintain a healthy relationship with anything. And it's those thought processes, towards everything, that I try to work on and establish with Ava every single day. 

Sometimes I think it would be very easy to allow myself to fall back into the insecure traps that haunted my twenties. Feeling big and desperately wanting to be a stone slimmer. Questioning whether I was capable enough to do my job or tormenting myself over why I wasn't good enough for someone I loved. Even now in my thirties, these negative though processes are still very tempting. To buy the scales and starve myself to finally get back into that body-con dress or to Photoshop the Instagram post of my legs that I thought made my calves look bigger.

But I can't do that.

Because just like I said in my last post.

My daughter's watching me. 

As long as Ava looks in the mirror and likes what she sees then I am doing my job right. And a million likes on Instagram or the best diet in the world is not going to achieve that. But a healthy attitude to life, an appreciation of your own self worth and the knowledge that even the girl in the magazine probably doesn't actually look like the girl in the magazine will.

I believe that this is what we need to be teaching our girls. That whether it's their attitude towards their bodies, boys or botox - that they are enough. 

And that they will always, always be enough. 

Monday, 1 January 2018

2017


After a month long break, when I opened my laptop and sat down to blog this morning, the prospect of recapping 2017 felt a little daunting. Although 2017 was a year of highs, it was also a year of lows. The pride I feel at finally getting ourselves on the property market is still a great one, even 8 months on. My career continues to grow in an industry I love and Ava continues to flourish. When people tell me how much of a carbon copy she is of me, in both looks and personality, I can't help but feel proud. I see it when her eyes crinkle when she smiles, in a manner I used to hate about my own features. I hear it when she tells me for the millionth time how much she hates castles, in the precocious, no one else's opinion is important, occasional manner of her mother. And I feel it when she puts her warm little hand in mine and tells me she loves me. She's still my proudest achievement to date.

 I had a hard summer that was tinged with tragedy, but you have to take the good with the bad. So let's concentrate more on the happy for now shall we?

In January, I wrote about finding the balance between motherhood and a career, and my massive support of flexible working hours for parents, something that is becoming more and more prevalent in the UK. In February, I asked if we were sharing too much on social media and discussed my millionth failed attempt at leaving Facebook, I swear that thing's a cult. March saw me talk about a fun road trip I took with my pal Kirsty, and my constant battle with feelings of always wanting to be somewhere I'm not. Quite the little tortured artist sometimes, aren't I? April was quiet, another blogging break which does make me wonder if I will even still be updating by my next birthday. May saw me talking about my attitude towards relationships and dating, and although I know I am still guilty of shutting things down quickly when I feel there is a risk, I hope that I will slowly start to open up my heart a bit in 2018. June saw me talking about my feelings on getting older, July I dealt with a heartbreaking loss and said very little and then in August I came out the other side and felt ready to talk about it. In September I questioned how creative I was and discussed my passions and then just before October I talked about how I was sacking online dating for good. I still have no intentions of going back on it and have found that it hasn't made that much of a difference to how much I meet people anyway. I was still talking about relationships when I wrote my last blog post of 2017 and discussed checking up on your ex's social media. And then I went quiet. December was a busy month, but truthfully I just didn't feel like blogging.   

My resolutions this year are many. Some simple, some a little more complex. Like everyone else in the UK I am jumping on the dry January wagon. Drinking too much is something I often berate myself about, especially since I had Ava and (like most mothers in the UK), find a glass of wine in the evening more of a nightly crutch. Although I usually stick to the government recommended two nights off at the start of the week, I do find myself sinking a large glass of red most Wednesday and Thursday evenings and more at the weekend. In the year that I intend to really focus more on skincare (because crows feet) and getting my fitness levels back up (best anti-depressant out there), I would like to try and cut down on the weekly wine drinking and save it more for the weekends. And a dry January seems the obvious way to kick start it.

I had flirted with the idea of a digital detox. Although I am immersed in all things digital during my nine to five, I do spend a lot of my own time engaged in my own social media. But the truth is that I enjoy it. So why stop? I am however going to be putting my phone down more. Which means not sneakily checking Stories while I'm playing with Ava and no more absentmindedly flicking through Insta in the middle of a good drama. I all too often have to rewind or use Wiki to recap on episodes I have been too immersed in my phone to understand.  

The rest are less generic, more about me. I plan to visit every remote Scottish island my annual leave and bank balance will allow. I want to see every loch, eat every langoustine and visit as much of this beautiful god damn country as my time will allow. There's a multitude of castles I still want to see (much to Ava's derision) and a Pinterest list as long as my arm of abandoned buildings I want to explore. I will still continue to moan I am skint because I spend all my money on nights away and my weekends will always be for adventure. 2018 will be the year I do a lot more of that. That's one thing I know for sure.

I constantly question if I am kind enough. Tolerant enough. If I think and consider enough of other people's feelings. I constantly battle my own insecurities and often berate myself for walking away from people too quickly for fear of getting hurt. I know that to be a better version of myself I need to be happier with who I am, trust my choices more and know that the right person will come along at the right time.  

I can't just settle for anything. 

My daughter's watching.

This morning, when Ava snuck into bed beside me at the beautiful time of 10am (thanks to an 11pm bedtime - I don't see my parenting getting any better), she crawled into my arms and wished me a happy new year. I held her tight and wished her the same. Then I pulled her away from me, looked her in the eye and asked her if she thought 2018 was going to be a good one.

She looked straight back at me, shrugged her shoulders and said "I don't know Mummy, I have no idea".

And she's right. We have no idea. None of us do. All we can do is go into it with an open heart, with an open mind and with the constant reminder to always try and be better. To be kinder. And to make the right decisions and do what we need to do for ourselves in order to be truly happy.

Ava then looked back at me with a thoughtfulness on her face and asked me with intense wonderment:

"Wouldn't it be amazing if you could get a chocolate Advent Calendar that lasted for a whole year?"

So maybe she's not that deep after all.


Monday, 20 November 2017

EVER THOUGHT OF CALLING WHEN YOU'VE HAD A FEW?


Recently I spoke to someone I had dated a couple of years ago who enquired as to why I no longer followed them on social media. When I explained that I just wasn't one of those people who particularly wanted to know what their ex's were up to online, I was met with a look of bemusement and disbelief. Followed by the statement - 'but I bet you still look'. When I replied that no, actually I didn't, they responded with a laddish 'aye right' and so I swiftly changed the subject.

They didn't believe me. Which was fine. It didn't particularly bother me whether they believed me or not. However it did get me to thinking. Does everyone stalk their ex's online? Is it healthy? Does it mean that you still secretly yearn for the relationship? Or is it simply normal curiosity?

I don't know. The only thing I do know is that when I told the person in question that I genuinely wasn't aware that their sister had just got married and that I honestly had no clue they had just spent 3 weeks in hospital recovering from a virus they picked up on holiday, I was telling the truth. 

Because I don't look. 

But that's not to say I haven't...

I'm someone who feels strongly that the unfollow button is a personal and powerful tool that everyone has the right to utilise to it's full extent. I don't feel guilty for unfollowing people on social media if I don't particularly like what they post. Because I don't equate social media to real life. I see no harm in unfollowing people even if I I genuinely like them in 3D. I think our social media channels are personal to us all and that it is silly to force yourself to endure photos of other people's cats, children or dinner if you don't want to. So I unfollow. We already spend far too much of our lives being diplomatic, nice and polite. So I believe in making your timeline your own and something you enjoy switching onto. 

In short, when it comes to being online, fuck being polite. 

Follow what you enjoy.

And get rid of what you don't.

And the same applies to ex's. While apparently there are some 'I have totally got my shit together and am a mature and rounded person' people who have no issue with continuing to follow their ex on social networks, I am not one of them. I don't particularly want to know what my previous boyfriends are up to, have no interest in hearing about their latest relationship conquest and exude not a tiny bit of interest in reading their last inspirational quote. Most of the time, looking at an ex's posts online does more harm than it does good. So in the words of a very good friend of mine - 'why go looking for pain'? 

And so I don't. I delete. And I rarely look back.

Despite the fact that I work in social media, write a blog and have a borderline unhealthy addiction to Twitter, it's actually not that difficult to eradicate someone from your digital life. And if you have just split up with someone, I highly recommend doing so. During a break- up one of the first things I do (after spending a weeks wages on a psychic and getting so drunk I fall asleep in a nightclub), is unfollow and delete all trace of them from my online life. I'm aware this can be construed as immature, childish and often bitter. But the truth is I don't care. If I am hurting then I don't want to know what they are  up to. And you shouldn't either. 

Of course you still run the risk of still seeing their smug looking face popping up on your timeline every so often. It's sometimes unavoidable. But there are things you can do to stop it. If you have mutual friends you never really liked anyway then delete them also. Strike while the iron is hot and you'll never have to worry about them tagging on your timeline. If you are still on good terms with their friends and family on Facebook but don't want to appear mean, then simply unfollow. This allows you to stay friends with them but means you don't have to see what they post or when they change their profile picture. Meaning the chances of having to look at your ex's annoying face at their latest family BBQ are almost diminished.

I would be lying if I said that I had never looked. Of course I have. The initial few weeks after a break up are a crucial point and you would have to be super human not to want to know what your ex is up to. So don't beat yourself up if you sneak a peek. We all do it. Even now I have been known to spend the odd Friday evening in front of Graham Norton horizontally doing a bit of snooping on the sofa out of nothing but nosiness and boredom.  But the occasions I do this are extremely few and far between. And I can genuinely say without a shadow of a doubt that I haven't looked at a single one of my ex-boyfriends social pages in at least 4 or 5 months. 

And the result? 

I'm a much happier person because of it.

The truth is that I'm at a point in my life now where I can't think of a single ex I wouldn't happily go for a friendly pint with. And that's a good place to be. But do I want to be liking photos of their lunch, admiring their new fiancee's diamond ring or tricking myself into thinking I want them back just because they finally worked out what to do with the bench press at the gym?

Do I fuck.

And anyway, everyone knows that the real person you still love is the person whose star sign you still read.

Don't they ;)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

L A T E L Y

  • Castles, castles, castles. And Midhope Castle did not disappoint. Mainly because it is also known to some as 'Lallybroch' from Outlander, and I got to fan girl all over the place.
  • This gin collection of mine just keeps growing and growing with the most recent addition being a bottle of Edinburgh Gin Cannonball. This Navy Strength stuff is 57.2% so if you are trying it for yourself I would definitely stick to singles!
  • Zombie Princess freaking out the neighbourhood for Halloween. It's worrying how seriously Ava is starting to take this over-commercialised calendar date. Especially since it's my turn to do the costume next year..
  • A day spent in Inveraray is most definitely a day well spent. Particularly when it involves the picturesque scenes of the A83 and some delicious seafood next to the log fire in The George Hotel
  • Some very good coffee from It All Started Here and a wander around Shawlands with friends on a cold, drizzly Saturday afternoon. I had forgotten how many cute and interesting little stores and charity shops Shawlands actually had.
  • I drive past the derelict Sir John Maxwell school building in Pollokshaws almost very single day and I am dying to get in there & explore!
  • Still loving my new found love of whisky, and still a major fan of an Oban! This one was enjoyed in the cosy surroundings of the bar at Inn On The Loch while enjoying some lively folk music after eating way too much in the restaurant.
  • Beautiful serene scenes taken in Ardgartan on a leisurely drive home from lunch at The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar.
  • There's something about a big bowl of steaming hot pasta on the cold, dark nights that just makes me feel so cosy and satiated. And it's also incredibly easy when I have been too disorganised to stop at the supermarket and pick up stuff for dinner. I threw some penne, cream, shallots, mushrooms, peas, garlic and white wine together the other night and came up with this. Totally hit the spot.
  • Looking forward to the weekend and finally trying some of these amazing little 50cl miniatures from The Gin Bothy. These boxes make the perfect Christmas presents so I highly recommend you get on their website and get ordering for your nearest and dearest gin fan friend or family member. I already have!
  • Dirty Martinis at The Boyd Roderick. I heard a sneaky rumour that these guys are giving away a meal for 2 on their Facebook page. Check it out here.
  • Exploring the abandoned railway station underneath the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow a couple of Sundays ago. 

  • The Cafe Royal in Edinburgh looking very pretty lit up in the dark. We finally made it through to Edinburgh recently to try some Mexican food at Wahaca (somewhere I have wanted to go for ages). Not only was the food good but it even got a massive thumbs up from Ava so we will definitely be back!
  • Speaking of trying new places, I finally got myself down to Surf Dogs for some gourmet hot dogs. The Currywurst with Sauerkraut was a definite a winner. So much so that I may have eaten there again last night.
  • Sweeties galore at the Busy B 2018 launch night last week. We got to peruse all the beautiful new stuff they have designed for 2018 as well as drink fizz with edible flowers, eat delicious canapes and get our very own diary for 2018 personalised in calligraphy. This was such a lovely event and I can't wait to get ordering some beautiful new diaries for all of my friends this Christmas. You can view their full collection on their website.
  • Gnocchi is something I love but for some reason I just never cook it. Until I discovered The Body Coach's Chicken & Leek Gnocchi Bake recipe and then made it twice in one week.

  • Churros, all the chocolate and caramel dips and some tasty ice-cream at Loop & Scoop in the west end. If you haven't visited yet then this is a must for anyone who likes to indulge. Ava's already been twice and will not stop asking when our next visit is.
  • Cosy early nights in bed with Scotland Magazine & cups of Chamomile & Honey tea. I'm not a great sleeper and have suffered with bad insomnia on and off for the past couple of years. I recently started having one of these teas every evening before bed along with a Magnesium supplement pill and have been sleeping like a baby ever since. If you have trouble sleeping then I highly recommend you get some Magnesium down ya, they honestly work!
  • I did that thing again, didn't I? Where I accidentally used the same photo twice in the same blog post? I want to be bothered enough to change it. But I'm not. Because I am lazy blogger personafied. Soz.
  • Finally, delicious seafood pasta at (relatively) new Celino's Partick in the west end. This dish was pretty bloody tasty, but the pate starter was out of this world. For years I have been trying to find somewhere that does better pate than Celino's and it's still not happened. If you pay a visit then please order it as a starter. You will not regret it.