Wednesday, 28 February 2018


  1. Bar Gumbo. I attended the exciting re-launch of Bar Gumbo in the west end a couple of weeks ago where we were treated to some deep south style hospitality with Southern Comfort cocktails and a delicious mix of food including burgers, oysters and jambalaya. I was always a fan of the original bar (because deep fried cheesecake for goodness sake), but after a recent make-over the place is looking amazing and the updated menu tastes great! If you are in the west end then this is somewhere you should definitely be checking out.
  2. Adventures in the borders. I recently went on a little road trip with my good pal Sarah where we enjoyed an overnight stay at The Buccleuch Arms hotel and did some adventuring across a part of the country that so often gets overlooked. I got loads of pictures so will update you all with a proper blog post soon.
  3. Cheese. Christmas must have re-ignited my love of the stuff because ever since then I have been keeping at least 3 or 4 different kinds in the fridge so I can treat myself to a nice little cheeseboard at the weekend (usually in front of a movie and accompanied by a large bag of Haribo for afterwards). Since the demise of my beloved Whole Foods I can no longer get their amazing brie with truffle anywhere however the Pecorino Tartufo from George Mewes has been going some way to filling that void. 
  4. Largs. We LOVE Largs. In the summer it's all about the beach, the ice-cream and maybe a cheeky boat trip over to Millport to play some crazy golf. But in the winter we can have just as much fun! We headed through recently for fish and chips, a pocket money spending session in the arcades and then a tour around Kelburn Castle. Best fun ever and only an hours drive from Glasgow.
  5. Loch Lomond Brewery.  After recently re-branding, these guys threw a little party to celebrate at Inn Deep Bar on Great Western Road and what a party it was! The place was buzzing, the new branding looked amazing and the beer tasted even better!
  6. Loop & Scoop. I kid you not, my child is addicted to this place. And with things like a chocolate fountain, Nutella filled churros and churros cups filled with Oreo ice-cream on the menu who can really blame her? We're already planning our next trip back. Which MIGHT be this weekend.
  7. Mongolian Chicken. I was a teensy bit apprehensive about this recipe as I haven't had a huge amount of experience in Mongolian cooking but the other week I made a huge batch of this chicken dish in the slow cooker and it was the best decision ever. I've been enjoying it tossed through noodles with some crispy stir fried broccoli as well as served with some fluffy white rice and sprinkled with chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds. It's incredibly easy to make and tastes great.
  8. Mull Planning. I'm heading over to Mull in a couple of weeks for 2 nights and I'm getting really excited about checking out my next island! Plans include some of those battered scallops I've been hearing so much about from Fisherman's Pier, a pint in the famous Mishnish and weather permitting some further island hopping over to the Isle of Iona.  
  9. Brewdog. I attended a beer school here last night and it was seriously good fun. Not only did I get to learn more about their craft beers (Elvis Juice & Alice Porter are my faves for life), but I discovered that as I love their Jet Black Heart so much, the chances are that I'm now probably a Guinness drinker. It was always gonna happen eventually. We were also treated to lots of yummy food including pulled pork, slow cooked brisket and some delicious tasting chicken. It doesn't matter how many beautiful skinny models I follow on Instagram in the interests of emulating, I'm basically just a beer and meat girl.
  10. Waffle weekends. These days we are all about the waffles. After weeks of perfecting our waffle recipe and lots of practising with the waffle maker we picked up over Christmas, we've been enjoying lazy Saturday mornings in our PJ's catching up at the table and road-testing lots of delicious toppings. Pancakes are so 2017.

Monday, 26 February 2018


I don't know how you lot fare in the general curiosity stakes, but I'm a nosy bloody cow. So having seen all the 'What I Spent In A Week' blog posts doing the rounds recently, I decided to do one myself. Not just because I find learning what other people eat, drink and get up to on any given week totally fascinating, but also because realistically I need to sit down and take a long hard look at my finances.

Although I will never really be a bags and shoes girl and the only designer clothes that are hanging in my wardrobe were presents, between factoring bills, decorating and my new found love of interiors, I am spending a lot more money on my home than I did when I was renting. Couple that with my ongoing love of eating out and a penchant for doing the weekly shop in Waitrose, and I do seem to be slipping into my overdraft a lot more regularly than I was back when I was renting.

There's also my ridiculous addiction to going on nights away.

So I decided to take a note of everything I spent in a week.

And then to share it with you.

Because I know you are all as nosy as I am.


I nipped to Morrisons in my lunch hour to buy Ava a Valentines Present (from a secret admirer) and to pick up bread and milk - £16.12

I stopped on the way home from work to fill up my car with petrol - £40.05

Total for day - £56.17


I nipped to Boots in my lunch hour to weigh myself (I do this monthly using the scales in the chemist as I refuse to keep bathroom scales in the house!) - 70p

While there I bought a cheap pair of trainer socks - £1.80 

After work I had an event in the west end. I got the train into central where my friend picked me up. Train fare - £2.40

Total for day - £4.90


Ava was off school so we decided to spend the day in Edinburgh. Train fare for a return - £15.60

I grabbed a skinny cappuccino at central - £2.40

Once in Edinburgh we headed to Ava's beloved Wahaca for lunch where Ava got dessert and mummy may have had a glass of wine. Meal including tip - £30.00

When we left the restaurant we gave a homeless man some change - £1.00

We then headed to Chamber Street Museum which was free entry although Ava put a pound in the donation box - £1.00

Ava was allowed to buy a small thing from the gift shop. Dinosaur egg slime thing - £3.00

We stopped at a shop and bought a diet coke - £1.37

Total for day - £54.37


After picking Ava up from school we popped into Morrison's in Giffnock to buy a couple of things for dinner before heading to her swimming lesson - £5.92

Ava always gets a Happy Meal after swimming so we stopped at McDonalds on the way home. I also got a coffee - £3.48

Once in McDonalds we realised that we needed a birthday present for Ava's friend so we nipped to Home Bargains where we picked up a toy and some cleaning products for the flat - £20.98

Total for day - £30.38


Incredibly I spent absolutely nothing this day. Which to be perfectly honest is usually unheard of. I don't take a lunch break on a Friday as I leave early to pick up Ava from school. Once I left the office I headed straight to collect her and her pal who was coming over to play. Thanks to a batch cooking exercise the week before I had tons of food in the freezer I was able to defrost for dinner and thanks to the fact I keep a fully stocked wine rack, I had a nice bottle already in the flat to treat myself to that evening. 

Total for the day - £0


We normally get out and about on a Saturday but as Ava had a birthday party at 2.30pm, we were sort of stuck in the city. In fact the only money I spent was when I did the weekly shop in Sainsburys while Ava was at said party - £61

Total for the day - £61


I spent 30p upgrading my free Waitrose coffee so I could sit in the cafe and enjoy it while Ava was at her drama class - 30p

Met a friend for coffee in Market and after the usual 30 second mini argument over who would pay, Kirsty won so I scored free coffee.

Met a different friend for coffee in town (which I bought this time) - £4.70

Went on a date where we drank in rounds (I'm a modern kinda gal and don't expect blokes to pay for my every drink). Not entirely sure how much I spent as I didn't get receipts and wasn't really paying attention but I think I spent around - £20

Total for day - £25.00

Grand total for week: £231.82

To be honest, this was a really well behaved week. We usually eat out twice a week and we only did so once. I also managed to go an entire week without ordering any expensive skin creams (my latest addiction) or buying any clothes for myself or Ava.

I'm not really sure if that was because sub-consciously I knew I was tracking everything so was being more frugal or if it just so happened that it was a quieter week spend wise. Ava and I would usually do things that cost more on a Saturday and there's usually a school trip, new pair of shoes or costume required for something or other so I would have to be honest and admit that this probably under my usual average spend for a week.

Keeping a diary of my spend was a bit time consuming but it was definitely interesting. 

I'm considering doing a food diary next...

So stay tuned!

Thursday, 22 February 2018


Lately I've been feeling edgy, stressed and a little all over the place. Lately I've been feeling flakey. And flakey is not a word you would ordinarily use to describe me. Not the gal who is always early for everything, never has an untidy house and who can't have more than three unopened notifications on her iPhone without breaking into a sweat. But lately I've been turning up for business meetings with no notepad. Lately I've been hitting the lock button on my car keys three times on the walk to my front door because I've no idea if I've already done it or not and lately I've been snapping at Ava for taking too long, only to discover the reason she is so far behind is because she is dragging the handbag I inconveniently forgot to pick up. I've even managed to be late a couple of times. And that is really not like me.

So what's been going on?

I've been refusing to let cars out just to be spiteful. I've been spending a small fortune panic buying skincare because all of a sudden I look old and I've been changing outfits a million times because nothing I put on looks right and I'm convinced I look unfashionable and dowdy. I'm breaking things like plates and glasses just by looking at them (which is ironic given I am not using the wine ones nearly as much) and I'm eating junk food at an alarming rate. To be honest, the only thing I haven't managed to do yet is scratch, prang or write off the car. 

But give me time.

I need to chill. I need to chill the F out guys. I need to take a step back. I need to light some candles, bang on some Netflix and pour myself a god damn glass of red. Even if it's a Tuesday. I need to spend some serious time in the kitchen, listening to some Gaslight Anthem and knocking out more meals than Mary. I probably need to stop being such an avid and enthusiastic swearer. 

But baby steps.

So that's what I've been doing team. I have been doing all of the above and it has been helping. And once I calmed down, took a chill pill and started to feel a bit better, I decided to investigate my own good self a bit more and to try to work out what the hell was going on with me. And do you know what? Self analysis is a scary place. But sometimes a rewarding place if you do it right. And I worked it out. I worked out what the hell has been going on in this mad little world we call my head for the past few weeks and in all honesty - it's exactly what I've been doing to myself since I stopped wearing scrunchies and started drinking gin and tonics.

I've been putting myself under too much pressure.

It's pressure you guys. It's pressure I've been putting myself under for a long, long time. It's pressure that makes me feel shit. It's pressure that keeps me up at night and it's pressure that makes me occasionally narky with the kid. It's pressure. And it's no good for any of us. What do I feel pressure about? Hope you haven't got any plans tonight. Cause I suggest you sit tight. Maybe make a cup of tea. Put your sweats on and perhaps light a few candles. You might even wanna grab some snacks.

I feel pressure to be a size 8 even though I am a healthy, happy, curvy, wee bit wobbly, sexy, smokin size ten and I look FAB. I feel pressure to excel the hell outta my career even though I am smashing it in all directions and have come such a long way from the soul destroying job that made me so unhappy two years ago.  I feel pressure to have a family, another baby and a god damn back garden by now even though I HAVE a bloody amazing family (albeit a small one) and am at exactly the same age as the average first time house buyer in the UK and am on the property ladder so just calm the fuck down.  I feel pressure to be a perfect mum even though Ava couldn't be more polite, patient, well mannered and kind if she tried (like, seriously, are we sure she's even mine?). I feel pressure to find a boyfriend even though I am genuinely having a smashing time bringing her up on my own and I need to stop buying into this idea that I need to couple up just because it's what SOCIETY thinks I should do. I feel pressure to stay in when I was meant to go out and pressure to go out on the nights I would prefer to stay in. I feel pressure to save money in case my boiler breaks down but my Scottish escapes and cocktails bring me so much pleasure and what if I get hit by a bus tomorrow? I feel pressure to keep my nails chip free and to book the Botox to sort out the crows feet that have been doing my head in for the past six months. I feel pressure to concentrate on the political shit on Radio 4 in the morning instead of thinking about nice wall paint colours and what I'm going to have for dinner that evening and I feel pressure to read books that are literary classics and more highbrow than the February edition of Marie Clare.

There's pressure all around us. Everywhere we look. And I give into it. Every single day.  But when you stop, which is what I tried to do two weeks ago, it does start to make everything feel a hella lot clearer. I've been choosing the bubbles baths over writing the blog posts and know what? No one died. No one even cares. It's a hobby and no one's interested if I don't blog in over two weeks. It's not paying my mortgage (much to my derision). I've been deleting the dating apps (yes, I went back there), after a first date experience with someone a bit nasty and malicious made me re-evaluate why the fuck I was even doing it in the first place. I've always struggled with the idea of going on a date with someone I've never met (probably the reason I have met most of my boyfriends first through work) and always questioned why I could never embrace the buzz or the thrill of meeting people through Tinder or Bumble. But the sick feeling that would ensue as I put my make up on, the dread that would wash over me on the way to the bar and the panic that would creep in the nearer date day got has made me realise it's time to throw the towel in. That bad date has taught me that it's safer and wiser to meet people you already know a little bit about and that's my best foot forward from now.

I've been feeling so under pressure from this societal idea that I should have a boyfriend, and as a result so transfixed with actively going on dates to try and find one, that I never actually sat down and questioned if I even really wanted one. And the answer to that is the same now as it was 12 months ago. I don't really care either way. And that is an absolutely fine place to be when you stop putting yourself under so much pressure. Because god forbid I focus on my career, god forbid I focus on building a strong, solid family unit with my child (because two is still a team) and god forbid I don't end up with a 4x4, better postcode and a family membership to David Lloyd before I hit 35.

God forbid that eh?

The bad date made me realise that forcing myself to go on dates and 'find someone' has never made me happy and so I need to stop. And there's an obscene amount of pleasure in just focusing on spending quality time with the kid I've already got. After a miscarriage last year I threw myself into the idea that I desperately needed another child to fill the void. Even though that relationship dissolved faster than a bath bomb shortly after I lost the baby. I can see now that it was actually just grief. And only now after properly coming to terms with the loss am I understanding the value in just being grateful for what I've got.

A lifetime spent mentally punishing yourself for every god damn thing is not an easily changed cognitive process. It takes time, determination and a lot of focus. But apparently I have all those things in abundance. 

So I'm definitely on the right track.

Thursday, 8 February 2018


  1. Crema Coffee. We recently paid a visit to the southside's latest brunch and coffee spot on Victoria Road and fell in love with the place. The breakfasts look amazing (see above) and the pancakes are to die for. Their own blend house coffee is pretty tasty as well and I am definitely popping back in soon to purchase a couple of bags for my lazy morning lattes. However the star of the show without question had to be Ava's homemade waffles. They were warm, delicious and perfectly crispy. The portion size was also massive meaning I basically got to eat half of them. If you are a Glasgow southsider then I strongly suggest you check this place out!
  2. The lighter nights. Ok it's definitely not spring yet. And I wouldn't be breaking out the barbeques or anything. But when I walked out of work at 5pm last night it was definitely not completely dark. And while I usually adore this time of year, I am sort of over waiting 20 minutes every morning in the freezing cold for my windscreen to defrost and paying the equivalent of my mortgage per month in gas bills.
  3. Bubble Baths. However I am still taking full advantage of this colder season by bubble bathing almost every single night. I swear there are only so many times you can Instagram Story your painted toenails bobbing about in a bubble bath. Seriously though guys, it's like an addiction. My wee face has never had so many home facials though... So it could be worse.
  4. The Ordinary. Speaking of home facials, I have very much joined the bandwagon on this new skincare range and I have to admit I'm finding it all kinds of awesome. I've been using the Glycolic Acid since before Christmas and have seen a remarked improvement in the overall appearance of my skin and have just purchased the Retinol in the hopes it will make me look eleven. I will keep y'all posted.
  5. Pasta. Namely spaghetti. Which is basically all I have eaten this week. Despite having a freezer crammed full of home made curries, stews and casseroles I could easily defrost. I'm not sure if it's the weather or not but I have been craving the carby stuff for days and eating it Puttanesca style, bolognese and with all the anchovies and goats cheese. I just can't get enough of pasta right now. And I can feel it in my jeans.
  6. Jake Bugg. I'm also getting a bit excited to go see Jake Bugg a week on Monday and have been listening to his music pretty much non-stop in the run up to his gig. I am a huuuuuge Jake Bugg fan, so was pretty gutted to have missed most of his set at T in the Park a few years ago cause I was too busy necking vodka (and possibly smooching a handsome lad who was far too young for me from Aberdeen). But the less said about that the better.
  7. Waitrose. I just bloody love it. I can't help it. It's my total happy place. From sitting in the cafe sipping my free to members cappuccino and tearing recipes out of the Waitrose Weekend supplement to perusing the aisles for pomegranate molasses and cuts of meat I can't afford, it's the one place that makes this foodie very, very happy. So I have found myself making all kinds of excuses recently just to be in the vicinity of one and 'pop in' for the essentials.
  8. Tantrum Doughnuts. And while we are on the subject of making up excuses to buy food, we popped into Tantrum Doughnuts for some treats last Saturday after Ava had a party in the west end. Those doughnuts are god damn delicious. This might be another reason why my jeans feel so tight.
  9. Running. I went for my first run in ages recently after an ankle injury and it felt amazing to get out and smash a 5k. My ankle seemed to hold up pretty well too so I figured it had been a pretty worthwhile expedition. Until I went over on it the following night in my work heels running into ALDI to buy some mushrooms. I think the problem might be me.
  10. This recipe. I made this chicken wrapped in prosciutto with goats cheese and lentils recipe for dinner the other night and it has become a favourite. I used sliced pancetta instead of prosciutto and added some mushrooms cause you know how I like to put my own spin on things. But this recipe is worthwhile even just for the dressing alone. Go make! 
I was invited as a guest of Crema. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

Sunday, 4 February 2018


This weekend there were no explorations. There was no getting out of the city, no abandoned buildings, no castles and no road trips. This weekend was about soft play dates, 7th birthday parties, Waitrose trips, coffee with pals, drama classes, 5k runs and later on some afternoon gins in Shawlands. 

This weekend there were no adventures.

I'm not going to lie.

It kinda killed me.

Last weekend however, myself & Sarah took ourselves on a little road trip over to Fife. We had lots of plans. And got ourselves a bit muddy. 

But it was fun.

Taking full advantage of the fact we hadn't caught up in a few days, the fact her car has heated seats and the fact there was a Wild Bean Cafe on the way, we jumped into her car mid-morning and made our way to the tiny village of Thornton. Discussing bad dates, school holidays and the perfect way to cook a steak en route. 

Because FYI we're a highbrow couple of gals.

After we had made our way approximately a mile out of town, we parked up, casually scoffed at the DO NOT TRESPASS, FINES OF £1000 signs, and made our way into the dilapidated Fever Hospital to see what we could find.

Here's the history bit...

'Thornton Fever Hospital was opened in 1902 as a fever isolation hospital treating patients with meningitis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, etc. It was stretched to it's capacity in 1903 with the Fifeshire typhoid epidemic. It was subsequently used as a mental health institution for children known as Strathmore Hospital. The building remained empty from 1967 to 1970 before it was opened as a children's home for boys with mental and social disorders known as Corsbie Hall School. After that dates get vague. The former matron's house was used as a hotel in the 70's known as Corsbie Hall Hotel and then in the 80's & 90's an unregistered care home known as Fosterton Firs took over the area.'

Nowadays the entire place lies abandoned. 

And Fever Tree is creepy.

Very, very creepy.

From the falling down rafters, to floors too soft and dangerous to walk on,  there were only parts of the place safe enough to explore. And I'm wreckless and arrogant when it comes to venturing into these kinds of places, so if there were bits that I wasn't prepared to go in, then it really must have been dangerous.

Kids had been in and vandalised, and as with all of these places there was tons of graffiti, but the eeriest bit had to have been the discarded kids clothes, like the above jumpsuit just left hanging on a peg in one of the halls. There were old fashioned children's buggy's lying abandoned on the floor. You could have been forgiven for thinking we had accidentally set foot onto the film set of some macabre horror movie.

We explored as much as we could, Sarah frightened the life out of me by creeping up on me and we took as many snaps as our time would allow. Before we ventured out to find the abandoned train across the road we had heard so much about.

Which as it turned out was no longer there.

As it had been removed the previous month.

Kind of kicking myself on that one given it had been on my list of places to go for over a year.

We did however have plenty of fun exploring some woods, following an old disused railway line and nearly getting attacked by a rabid, unleashed dog. 

So not a total waste of an afternoon. 

Before returning home for a hot bath and some seriously good steak.

And an evening spent on Pinterest, planning my next adventure...

Sunday, 21 January 2018


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


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'.