10 things that have made me happy this week

This week hasn’t been great for me or my family but concentrating on the positive is always the best way forward. Here are the highlights of my past week:

1. Easter Sunday afternoon tea. My best friend and I organised afternoon tea a while ago at a place called Usquabae in Edinburgh, turns out it was Easter Sunday. It was such a lovely Easter celebration with loads of sandwiches, cakes and macaroons washed down with tea and a Whisky cocktail. Processed with MOLDIVIMG_3029-1

2. Finally being able to eat Hot Cross Buns. I love hot cross buns slathered in butter but I feel like its only really acceptable to eat them at Easter so I went all out and bought the extra fruity Tesco Finest. And they didn’t let me down.

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3. Thank God for four day weekends. I didn’t do much with my weekend as my exams started on Monday but I enjoyed my long lies and study break walks.

4. Exams give me really bad cabin fever and so when my sister asked if I wanted to climb Arthurs Seat, well I couldn’t refuse. It was such a nice day and although there was a chill in the air, when you stood in the sun it was so warm. I made the mistake of wearing fleece lined leggings so I was sweltering once we got to the top. We somehow lost the path on the way down so had to basically rock climb to the bottom which was pretty funny.IMG_3015Processed with MOLDIVIMG_3012-1

5. Regrowth of my plants. During the Winter my Lavender plants went into hibernation but this past week they have started becoming green again and sporting new stalks! RESULT!

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6. Starting exams. This may seem weird but the sooner they start, the sooner they end. So bring them on…

7. Reaching 10,000 steps on my Fitbit (Yes, I’m one of those people). I’m obsessed with my Fitbit and reaching 10,000 steps. So everyday I reach my goal, I get a wave of achievement flow though me, and it actually makes me want to exercise!

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8. Booked out holiday! This year, me and my boyfriend only have one week off together in the summer which SUCKS. We have been toying about where to visit and we finally decided on London, mainly because trains are fairly cheap and we love visiting London. So, we have officially  booked our train tickets and I’m so excited!

9. My friend and I have started meeting for an evening runs/Saturday morning runs. This is ideal because it gives us time to catch up plus we are exercising. And as Mo Farah says in the Quorn advert, “if exercising is fun, it doesn’t feel like exercise”. Preach Mo.

10. Changing my bedsheets. I love the smell of fresh bedlinen and there is nothing more wonderful than climbing into a freshly made bed. I bought my sheets from the Harrison range at The White Company and they are ridiculously soft. I also believe they are 30% off at the moment so snap them up quick!

March Favourites

With the recent beautiful weather and the emergence of daffodils and tulips from the grass it seems Spring has finally arrived. So far this month has been spent studying for upcoming exams whilst trying to spend time outdoors in the sunshine – a difficult balance to achieve because who wants to be stuck indoors when the sun is out?

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This weekend I had no plans for the first time in ages so I spent it relaxing in my pjammas, watching 90210 and going for walks in the sunshine. This week I have compiled a list of all my March favourites so far…

Favourite clothing brand: Olive. I stumbled upon this by accident but thank God I did! The clothes are amazing, there is nothing on the whole website that I wouldn’t wear. The clothes are very minimalistic with simple cuts and styles. Everything is quite pricey but I know what I’ll be hinting for from my family for my birthday! Check out this Ladybug Stitched Cropped Shirt. 

Favourite artist: Aquilo. My friend went a concert where they were the supporting act and ever since she introduced my to them I’ve been addicted.

Favourite film: Testament of Youth. This film has been on my Netflix ‘to watch’ list for ages. I finally got round to watching it and I wish I had discovered it sooner. I love films about the war and this story centres around Vera Brittain, who defies the odds and becomes a student at Oxford. When World War I breaks out she decides to stop her studies and become a nurse. The film is all about her experiences during the war period. Would definitely recommend this.

Favourite blog: Lily Rose. Lily Rose is a French blogger, writing about things from travel to style and more. The thing I love the most about this blog is the photography – it is absolutely beautiful.

Favourite Youtube channel: The Michelaks. I have been watching the Michelaks for about a year now and I look forward to Sundays when their vlogs are released. They are a family living in London and they film themselves going about their daily lives. The videos are so well made and although they are pretty long, they keep you hooked.

Favourite restaurant: Harajuku Kitchen. This is a Japanese restaurant in Edinburgh where the food is so so good. The menu is extensive and serves all kinds of sushi. If you aren’t into sushi then they also serve some hot rich dishes such as Teriyaki Chicken.

Favourite beauty product: Arrow Boost Colour Enhancing Lip Balm. I actually was sent this in my Birchbox this month and it has transformed my life. Literally. The lip balm itself smells minty and leaves your lips feeling so moisturised. But this lip balm also leaves a lovely redish pink tint on your lips which lasts all day – almost like a lip stain. In the morning I am always in a rush so I never have time to put on lip stick but with this you just quick slap it on and then your good to go all day.

Favourite App: Map My Run. Does what it says in the name but this app lets your plan routes on your phone before you run as well as tracking how far you run and in what time. I am relatively new to running but I plan on using the app to try to go longer distances and to improve my run time.

 

 

 

Spa Saturdays

For Christmas this year both me and my sister were lucky enough to receive a spa and Champagne afternoon tea voucher from ‘Santa’ for The Balmoral in Edinburgh. It took ages for us to be available at the same time so we eventually got it booked for Saturday 12th March.

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We arrived at the spa at around 10:30. We were greeted by three lovely therapists who showed us around the spa explaining where everything was before taking us into the changing room where we were given our locker keys and a robe, flip-flops and towels to use. We decided to visit the gym first and stayed there for around half an hour. The gym was lovely, it was quite small but had all the equipment that you would ever need. We were also the only ones in it so had free range of the place! After a quick run on the treadmill and some weight exercises, we decided to head into the spa.

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We went back to the changing room to put on our swimming things and our robes before choosing whereabouts to sit at the side of the pool. The spa had a swimming pool surrounded by loungers and magazines as well as a bar where all tea, coffee, and water was free. We got two loungers side-by-side and helped ourselves to the free drinks. It was wonderful, it was so quiet with just the sound of running water – so relaxing. Occasionally we had a dip in the pool or used the sauna and steam rooms but we mainly just relaxed on the loungers. At 12 o’clock we each had a treatment booked. I chose the ESPA back treatment, it was a back scrub and massage followed by a back skin mask. Whilst the back skin mask was getting to work you were given a leg massage. The treatment was brilliant and afterwards I felt amazing and my skin was so soft. The therapist who did my treatment was so nice and afterwards she gave advice about how to make the most of your treatment after the massage had finished.

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Post-treatment we were taken to the relaxation room – a room which contains soft seats that is very dim and plays relaxation music. This was a great way to finish off the massage. After a while in the relaxation room, we returned to the spa and order a smoked salmon lunch. This took about 15 minutes to arrive and we ate it in the bar area of the spa. After just having had a massage and now a full belly we again just chilled by the pool reading magazines as we felt so sleepy.

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4’olock came too fast and it was time to leave the spa and go for afternoon tea. We went up to Palm Court – a glass roofed room with wonderful tree wallpaper and huge mirrors finished off with a live harpist playing. It was amazing.

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We were shown to our seats and given a glass of Champagne each before the waitress told us about all the different courses that we were going to get. We were given a choice of about 40 different teas, I got the Peaches and Flowers tea which was so fresh and exactly what I needed.

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We started the afternoon tea with a Mushroom Soup with Truffle Creme Fraiche, followed by a mountain of sandwiches with different fillings including egg and salmon. After this I was feeling very full but along came another course! This time it was lots and lots of cakes! We each got two scones plus four cakes which resembled miniatures of the sort of things you would see in a French patisserie. We could only manage one scone each but we were able to take everything that we didn’t manage home. Next, we were brought a tiny ice cream cone with a lemon sorbet. It was so cute! and helped cleanse the palate as well. After this we chose some chocolates and macaroons as a final course but again we couldn’t manage it so we just got them to take away.

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My sister suffers from Coeliac’s Disease, meaning she can’t eat gluten so it can be difficult for her to get things to eat especially when it comes to afternoon tea. The Balmoral were excellent at catering for her, and her sandwiches and scones were of the exact same quality as the gluten-containing foods much to her delight. So if you are looking for somewhere to go for afternoon tea if you are Coeliac or with someone who is Coeliac, I highly recommend  Palm Court at The Balmoral. It is expensive but you do get loads of food and the staff let you take everything that you can’t eat away. It is definitely worth the money!

Everything and I mean EVERYTHING was of the highest standard and the staff were amazing – nothing was too much bother for them. The day was wonderful and was over in a flash but I definitely am hoping for another voucher next Christmas to repeat the experience. It was one of the best days I’ve ever had and I’ve never felt so relaxed and content.

A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

This weekend I visited Dundee. I graduated there in June and haven’t been back since. Dundee was one of – if not THE best experience of my life and going back to see old friends brought back so many memories.

Luckily for me living in Edinburgh I am in such a great location to go and see places – Dundee being no exception with an hour and a half on the train. I got the train up on Saturday early afternoon, it was a beautiful day so travelling across the Dundee rail bridge I could see for miles. Dundee is currently undergoing a huge renovation of its waterfront with a new train station being built as well as a new V&A museum (being only the second one in Britain) and new gardens. Once I got off the train and headed out of the station I was shocked at how different everything looked, and it looked amazing! The V&A museum was being built and the gardens were (although unfinished) wonderful. Looking around on that sunny day I knew that it was going to look spectacular when it was finished.

I met my friend and we set off to a charity gym class at the City Quay, a lovely small part of Dundee near the Tay Bridge. My friend and I signed up for two classes but I kid you not I have never been to such an intense gym class. After 5 minutes I was so puffed out and even though the class only lasted for half an hour I was completely knackered and we definitely couldn’t have managed a second one.

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If you are looking for a hugely intense class where afterwards you feel like you have run a marathon give Good Health and Fitness a try. I did feel really good once it was finished although walking was a struggle!

Post-gym activities consisted of driving to Asda for snacks.

In the evening we decided that because we worked so hard at the gym we deserved a Chinese Takeaway for dinner, so that’s exactly what we got. We watched Django whilst devouring a Chicken Chow Mein with a nice glass of wine. And then it was early to bed for us.

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Sunday morning was equally as beautiful as Saturday – blue skies with no sign of any clouds. We decided to walk up to the Airlie Monument. Although it was a beautiful day there was a chill in the air so we wrapped up warm and started our ascent. It didn’t take too long and because we were up and out so early there was nobody else around. We sat in the sun which was surprisingly hot for about an hour catching up before heading back down for some lunch. After lunch it was time to go! The trip up had been so short yet so much fun.

I forgot how friendly Dundee and how much it is changing at the moment. I definitely won’t wait as long to visit next time!

 

Stress-Busting Tips

Life is crazy. It can be so overwhelming and busy that I can feel a bit lost sometimes. When this happens I need to slow myself down and remind myself that no good will come of rushing about.

I have comprised a list of the things which help me feel calmer and less stressed out.

1. Take a walk. This seems so simple but sometimes all you need to do is get some fresh air and time away from everything to get some perspective.

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2. Make a list. If you write down everything that you need to accomplish during the day it makes everything seem more manageable. And as you achieve each goal you can score it out which is one of the most satisfying feelings ever.

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3. Do some yoga. Recently, I have started 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne and it has made me so much more mindful. Adriennes yoga camp is all about connecting both the body and the mind and each day she has a different mantra. I could never get into yoga before but now, each day I love yoga more and more and afterwards it makes me feel so content with life. I do it in the mornings to set me up for the day and make my work that bit more productive.

4. Tidy your space. If I am stressed about work or exams, just giving my desk a clean and a tidy can make me feel heaps better and sort my head out. I believe that whatever aspect of your life is stressing you, sorting out the space you are living in will help you feel a bit better.

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5. Sit down and have a hot drink. As a Brit, I believe that the best remedy is a hot cup of tea. It is just so comforting picking out your favourite mug and having 10 minutes of time to yourself whilst sipping on a warm drink.

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