A jolly good birthday weekend

Saturday 23rd July

23 on the 23rd. How fitting.

I spent the morning at home with Mum, Dad and Alfie (our cocker spaniel). Megan, my sister was still au pairing in Paris so she wasn’t able to be there. After a quick breakfast it was time to open presents (one of my favourite things about birthdays). My main present was money which I am planning to put away to start saving for travelling next year with my friend Caroline. I got a lovely dress which I had asked for as I wanted to wear it to my birthday tea party as well as lots of other lovely things including an amazing new cook book!

After I spent the morning with my parents I went back to the flat that Cameron and I share. Once I arrived Cameron gave me my present which was the most incredible blue bike with a cute little basket on the front. The present was finished off with two big ‘Happy Birthday’ balloons.

IMG_4793-1

I took it out for a quick spin along the road that we live on, which usually is not that busy but typically when I got outside with it (keeping the balloons on of course!) the police drove by and giggled at me. Fair enough though because I must have looked so weird.

Processed with MOLDIV

Next, Camerons parents came round to give me a gift which turned out to be a picnic basket with a rug, plates, cutlery, bowls and glasses. So of course we had to go for a picnic! The weather was pretty cloudy but off we went anyways. We drove to the Braid Hills in Edinburgh which is fairly close to our flat.

Processed with MOLDIV

DSCN2184

We bought a LOAD of food from the supermarket, way too much for us both to eat. We made burgers and sausages and had to fight off the dogs who smelt our food!

IMG_4826-1

After we were stuffed full of food, we relaxed for a while (and played Pokemon!) before heading back to the car. Once we got home we started tidying up/decorating for the Mad Hatter’s Teaparty that I was hosting on Sunday. It was a quick turn around as we dropped into see Cameron’s sister (who bought me an extremely cool bike helmet which matches my new bike) before rushing home to get ready to go out for dinner.

We went for dinner at my favourite restaurant – Harajuku Kitchen which is a Japanese restaurant. It serves hot dishes as well as sushi and the food is incredible. If you are ever in Edinburgh and looking for a place to eat definitely give it a try. I had an aubergine curry for main (tasted unreal) and then mum brought cupcakes she had bought with her for pudding as my birthday cake because I couldn’t really have a proper cake as I wouldn’t have been able to take it through to Glasgow with me.

After dinner Cameron and I headed into town to  grab a drink in St Andrews Square where there is pop up bars for the Edinburgh festival. They had a gin cocktail bar which me and Cameron made a beeline for. It was a nice way to end the evening.

IMG_4843

IMG_4840


Sunday 24th July 

I was up fairly early in order to bake for my tea party which was starting at 1. After watching an episode of ‘Once Upon A Time’ I dashed into the shower to start getting ready. I decided to dress up as the White Queen so I was following a Youtube video to do my make up. Once ready, I finished decorating the room and set the table. At quarter to 1 I realised I had no milk for a tea party so I had to get Cameron to dash to the shops (thank goodness he was there or that could have been awkward).

DSCN2187

DSCN2188

DSCN2190

DSCN2189

DSCN2199

DSCN2197

DSCN2193

DSCN2194

DSCN2196

DSCN2192

Processed with MOLDIV

I was literally just finished getting all the cakes on the table and everything when the doorbell rang. Good timing. It was so good seeing everyone’s costumes, there was the white queen, queen of hearts, white rabbit and tweedledee.

IMG_4877

DSCN2204

We all had such a long catch up because we haven’t seen each other since April (which seems ridiculous as we live in the same city) but we have all been so busy and both Hannah and I have been away from Edinburgh for ages so we just haven’t been able to organise anything for ages. Tea and prosecco was consumed along with copious amounts of cakes, scones, macaroons, strawberries, jelly beans and marshmallows.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long to see each other next time.

DSCN2203

 

Advertisements

A Taste of New Orleans

This weekend was the start of the Jazz Festival in Edinburgh. To celebrate the opening Saturday brought Mardi Gras to the Grassmarket and Sunday brought the Carnival on Princes Street.

I was unable to go to the Carnival due to going through to Glasgow, where I am based for the next month which was  disappointing. But Mardi Grass was amazing.

The Grassmarket was absolutely mobbed, you could hardly move. There were three stages with different bands. In the middle there was a little band of men dressed in white sailor outfits and women dressed in little dresses who were dancing to the music whilst getting everybody up and dancing.

IMG_4665-1

IMG_4671

There was a small market selling paella and macaroons in huge quantities as well as classic scottish things like cashmere.

We mainly stayed at the third stage and we watched Jambouree, who were incredible. They knew how to get the crowd going and their music was amazing. They had two crazy dancers aswell who came and preformed with them. They had pretty questionable moves but they were excellent to watch.

IMG_4680

IMG_4655-1

We didn’t stay for too long because it was very busy and we were late arriving. We walked home and on the way we had to stop for a coffee and a fruit scone with clotted cream and jam!

IMG_4679-1

Survival Guide

IMG_4575

I am still in Inverness this week. Inverness is a lovely place with lovely people. The lack of internet is somewhat disappointing however it’s not the end of the world. And I suppose I have had time to have catch up with learning Spanish and reading books.


The drive up to Inverness took SO long. We stopped half way at the House of Brurar which has a café, a walk for the dog and a shop selling food and clothes. The walk was lovely, pretty difficult as the first part is all uphill. The next day my thighs were in agony.

IMG_4563

IMG_4569


I stayed in a cute little cottage on the canal with mum and dad. I was able to stay one night and it was great. Right outside the cottage was a bridge which spun around to let boats continue along the canal. In the morning I was able to sit in the garden with my cup of tea right on the canal and watch the world go by. There are not many more things that are more relaxing.

IMG_4587

Processed with MOLDIV

We drove to Dorres, a place just outside Inverness for a woodland walk. The walk started right on the edge of Loch Ness and there was the cutest little caravan which had been turned into a Loch Ness monster hunting van. The weather was so dark and menacing, which made for an atmospheric picture of Loch Ness and the surrounding hills (see below).

IMG_4595

IMG_4593

We were incredibly lucky with the weather, as the rain was definitely threatening to fall. Walking through a forest is my favourite kind of walk. And the dog absolutely loved it although we did almost loose him after he realised there was a deer and ran away after it.

IMG_4572

I was then dropped at the hospital accommodation where I would be living for the next two weeks. It was just then when I realised that there was no wifi. I zoomed over to Tesco to stock up on books.I thought this week I would include the books which are currently on my reading list.

IMG_4638

  1. Lila by Marilynne Robinson
  2. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  3. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies
  4. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I have only read the first two books so far.

Lila is a very well written, head wrenching story about a girl, taken from her family by a woman named Doll and brought up on the move. It is written first person by Lila and she tells about the struggles of survival and how difficult it is for her to adapt to living in one place.

The Little Paris Bookshop is a romantic tale of Jean Perdou in search of answers from his past. It is a story about moving on from one love and embracing a new one. It is a great book if you want an easy read with a good storyline.

North Coast Holiday

As I sit here writing this weeks blog in a library in Inverness it almost doesnt seem real that last week I was away on holiday. But even without wifi in my accomodation and no data left on my phone I am still managing to get through the days slightly unscathed.


Monday 27th June

After a wonderful weekend in St Andrews I arrived back to the flat in Edinburgh at 11pm – a lot later than I had anticipated considering I had washing and ironing and packing and dinner to do before we left in the morning.

Midnight came and went and I’m ashamed to say that ironing became the last of my concerns and I stuffed everything (unironed) into my case. 5:45am and my alarm went off. After dragging myself out of bed and making toast and tea for the journey, Cameron and I set off for Cairnryan for our boat sailing at 10:30. I’m not going to lie, I slept for most of the journey. Late nights and early starts do not agree with me, but when they are in combination that’s a recipe for a disaster. Poor Cameron had to drive 3 hours being equally as exhausted as I was.

The boat was fine. We obviously had to get a full english and a cup of tea to perk ourselves up after that we wandered outside as the sun was out,the views were pretty nice leaving Scotland and entering Ireland. Then we watched The Intern which was on in the film lounge.

DSCN2054

Once the boat journey was over we headed to the titanic museum in Belfast. This was very worthwhile, although expensive. The best part was the ride in the middle, where you sat on a seat which reminded me of ‘It’s a Small World’ at Disneyland Paris and they took you around hearing stories of different workmen on the Titanic.

DSCN2060

DSCN2059

DSCN2062

After spending a couple of hours at the exhibition we then drove to the Galgorm Hotel and Spa where we were staying. This hotel was outstanding. The staff were unbelievably friendly and nothing was too much bother for them. I came across this hotel via Youtube – a vlogger that I watch had stayed here and the spa looked unreal.

IMG_4416

Our room looked out onto the spa, just to the right of the hot tub. Once we arrived at the hotel, we firstly booked a dinner reservation at the Italian restaurant and then after finding our room had a good long nap. We woke up just in time to fit a G&T in before dinner. The hotel has a brilliant gin bar in a conservatory overlooking the river with hundreds of gins and tonics to choose from. I opted for the Bloom gin with Elderflower tonic and it was heavenly.

IMG_4355

Dinner was 2-for-1, much to our delight. I had a Diavolo pizza which is my all time fav. There was talk at dinner about maybe having another drink or playing a bit of pool but when the push came to the shove we decided actually sleeping was a much better idea.


Tuesday 28th June

We were up fairly early on Saturday morning as we couldn’t miss breakfast, one of the best things about a hotel! Breakfast was even better than I had imagined it would be. There was everything you could ever dream of – including crepes (my ultimate breaskfast food) and Guinness bread and cheese.

IMG_4361

Processed with MOLDIV

Today was the SPA DAY I had been waiting for. We had a leisurely morning reading the paper (you get one in the morning attached to your door in a little bag) then headed off to the spa. We were going to book in for treatments however there was no room left for the massages so we took a treatment brochure and had a think about what we would like instead. We decided on the Celtic Sauna Ritual and the 2 person Mud Scrub. The Celtic sauna ritual started just before we booked in to it was our first experience of the spa. This was probably my favourite thing ever. It consisted of a ‘sauna master’ guiding you through the ritual which began with three different oils being individually poured on the stones of the sauna which really heated it up and the sauna master preforming moves with a towel which really moved the air and let it circulate around. The next part was a meditation in a room overlooking the river, with huge big windows open so you could hear the noise of the river and the birds. I know it sounds really weird but if you ever get the chance to try it, please do.

Processed with MOLDIV

Next it was time for lunch, which we ate in the spa orangery (how posh!) I got a little plater of meats which was really tasty and a frozen strawberry daiquiri. It was very expensive but I suppose thats what you pay for eating in a spa.

IMG_4469

IMG_4471

The mud scrub was actually great fun. You were given your own personal stem room and showers with little pots of mud. You had to apply the mud for ten minutes, allow drying time for 10 minutes, steam for 20 minutes and then there was a 10 minute long hot shower at the end to wash off all the mud. It was great, I didn’t find it amazingly relaxing however it was really fun and my skin was so smooth and glowy afterwards.

IMG_4466

After the mud scrub  we just explored the HUGE spa. It was amazing, there were three pools – jacuzzi pool, hypotherapy pool and normal swimming pool which had  heated waterbeds around it. The was three saunas and steam rooms all at different temperatures as well as other varients of them. There was even a snow room which was -10 degrees C, and it actually burnt your feet it was so cold. There was a lot of outdoor areas where you could sit however we went on a cold drizzly day so the only outdoor place we sat was the hot tub.

IMG_4384

After we had successfully done everything in the spa, it was time for dinner. We ate in the hotels other restaurant – the Grill. I had a chicken curry because I wasn’t fancying any red meat but the curry was absolutely delicious. After dinner we again just went back to our room to watch some TV and go to sleep. We were delighted to find out that the room had a free minibar, so it was only polite to have a couple of drinks on the hotel.

Processed with MOLDIV


Wednesday 29th June

Breakfast was good as ever, although we were both sad to be leaving the wonderful hotel and the amazing spa. Check out was 11am and afterwards we had a walk around the grounds. The grounds of the hotel were massive and they had maps with routes that you could walk.

DSCN2086

DSCN2080

The grounds were lovely and we walked a fair distance before deciding to drive down to the coast where my gran lived. We were both starving so I decided to take Cameron to one of my grandads favourite lunch venues – the Bushmills Distillary. The food was great and not overpriced at all which I was surprised about as there were swarms of tourists about.

DSCN2103

After lunch we went on a whim and decided to go on the tour of the distillary which was actually dead cheap. The tour lasted 45 minutes and our tour guide was hilarious. You got to see every stage of the brewing process and at the end you could choose which type of whisky you wanted to try. I went for the 10 year and Cameron went for the Honey brew. Now I can confirm that I am not and will never be a whisky drinker. No matter how hard I try I cannot enjoy the taste, its just too strong even with water. I’m sure if you were a whisky drinker however this would taste superb.

Because the rain had stopped when we left, we decided we should take a visit to the Giant’s Causeway. The weather was not in our favour. We walked along the costal path overlooking the causeway and meandered down. As soon as we reached the causeway stones, the rain flew down in buckets. We were drenched from head to toe and so after about 5 minutes decided to head back. Then as soon as we arrived at the costal path again above the causeway the sun came back out. The Gods obviously didn’t want us seeing it.

DSCN2116

DSCN2117

Processed with MOLDIV

Once we arrived back at the car the heating went on full blast and we made our way to grans house. We had a lovely evening with cooking from my Aunt and company from my Great Aunt and Uncle. Bed wasn’t until way past midnight (yes, I am a granny and I go to bed very early normally).


Thursday 30th June

Thursday was a day for family. The morning saw us visiting two Great Aunts and a Great Uncle. We left their house at around 2 where we headed straight for Portrush to have a go on the rides at Barry’s which is a funfair open during the summer months. When me and my sister were younger my gran used to take us and it was great fun.

Processed with MOLDIV

We had a ride on the dodgems and then spent a VERY long time on the slot machines where I found out I have a hidden talent. I am the slot queen. I won a lot of money (only 2p’s I’m afriad) but then I lost it all again. Tragic.

We then went in search of food because what else do people do at 4oclock on a Thursday. We found this gorgeous little place called Babushka which was right between the beach and the harbour. It served some great food and there was a lovely atmosphere around it.

Next I was introducing Cameron to my other granny and grandad where we had tea and cake before we had to leave to go out for dinner.

We went out for dinner with my Aunt and gran to a place in Bushmills called the French Rooms. It has always been a favourite venue to eat out at and it didn’t disappoint. My aunt and I shared a platter of delicious meats and cheeses, humous and salad with crusty bread. It was a lovely way to end the holiday.

DSCN2138


Friday 1st July

Today we were leaving to come back to Scotland. I was a bit sad that our holiday had come to an end but grateful that the holiday had been so good. We decided to leave really early for our boat so we could drive around the coast on our way back to the port.

The drive was very scenic and at some points it felt prearious because the roads were so small and you were very near the edge of the cliffs. We stopped half way along in a town called Cushindun. It was so quaint and had a beautiful hearbour and stretch of beach. We ate at the local pub which was tiny but it did great food.

DSCN2148

DSCN2150

IMG_4552

DSCN2154

It was a bit strange driving back the costal road as we could see Scotland in the distance, not looking too far away.

DSCN2143

We eventually arrived home late on Friday night, where bed was top on our list after having a long day travelling.


We had such a great holiday and are definately keen to visit again sometime soon. The North Coast of Ireland is such a picturesque part of the world. I would definately recommend a visit to anyone and everyone.