Recent Wanderings & Summer Planning

Today as I looked out my office window (this was written during a quick lunch break) I see grey skies and lots of rain. It was very stormy on Sunday and today again, it is very soggy indeed. We are hoping to sneak in a quick camping trip up to Aberdeenshire this month and my College also has a big fun day planned, and, at the very end of the month there is a big County Guide Camp. So I’m okay with it being damp and dreich just now if the sun decides to shine over the next few weekends. In particular the last weekend in May, the 8 Guides I have from my unit attending the county camp have never really camped before and I would like it to be a really good experience for them…. soggy sleeping bags might put them off!

We’ve managed to sneak in a couple of walks in recent weeks, Dunkeld in Perthshire, Balmerino in Fife and Boddin in Angus. As usual when in Dunkeld we called in at our favourite cake spot; Spill The Beans but we have no new fabulous cafe finds to report.

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 We have however booked our Summer Holiday! The Boyo has a conference in Australia to attend at the end of June and whilst we did consider a holiday in Australia we decided it was not the right time of year and too expensive for all the things we would like to do. We’ll save for a holiday in Australia another time (it also gives me more chance to get over my fear of spiders). Instead I shall fly out and meet the Boyo at Bangkok airport. 1 night in Bangkok then 6 nights in Koh Samui. We are very excited indeed. I’m stocking up on books on my kindle. I’ve bought a new swimsuit and I have the factor 50+ suncream ready. Have any of you been to Thailand? I’m on the hunt for a beach dress, something to throw over my swimsuit, I may even consider making myself one. I have sandals ordered this Merrell Pair for all the walking about we always end up doing and I think I will buy these M&S sandals, I got them last year in a pinky colour and there were great. Footwear is really important as we are never still for very long and I have a knee condition, usually referred to as dodgy knees so my shoes have to be supportive. I had a Merrell pair of sandals for a few years that were not very pretty but they did an excellent job. I unfortunately lost them during a flat move when lived in Hong Kong. I’m hoping this pair will do just as good a job but look a bit nicer as well. I don’t think I really I need any more clothes, although an extra swimsuit would probably be handy. I am finding them to be pretty expensive though so I may just make-do with what I have. I’m trying to stop myself getting too carried away with excitement. Do any of you have summer plans? Our original plan before all of this was a week camping in Skye so this is a bit more exotic and warmer than originally anticipated for this summer.

Now I hope you have a merry day… I’m going home for a cosy evening in, maybe even a wee hot chocolate, in weather like this it is almost obligatory!

Merry in The Ferry..

30 Things for my 30th Year

Last week I shared that in my 30th year I have a list of goals I’d like to achieve – or at the very least work towards.

My goals come under 3 main headings:

Health                     Wealth                    Happy Life

I won’t share the whole list at once – it would be a bit boring for you, and sharing them as I really think about how I am going to achieve them helps me stay on track and keep motivated.

Today I’ll talk about a couple of my goals that come under health.

All over the world people use January as a month to try and get fit and healthy after the excesses of the festive season. Personally I have always thought they were mad, to me January is a month for hibernating. A month where getting out of bed is hard and doing anything remotely healthy is hard because when you get up to work in the dark, go home in the dark and the days hover around freezing all you really want to do is eat things like macaroni cheese and wear every fluffy cosy item you own.20141207_135927

I admit I’ve not exactly shaken off those tendencies. However the week of my 30th birthday I made 2 large purchases which are helping me on this journey of becoming the best me I can be. These were my Jawbone and my first dip into the world of essential oils. These two purchases are helping me with a few of my health goals.

This week I am going to talk about the Jawbone gadget and next week I’ll share my experiences with Essential Oils so far and the goals that they are helping with.

So the Goals that my Jawbone is proving to be a handy tool for are:

* Start doing some form of exercise 5-6 days a week.

* Aim to walk at least 10,000 steps a day

*Get enough sleep

* Find an exercise class

A Jawbone is little piece of high tech that comes in the shape of a band that goes around your wrist. I got a snazzy blue one, other colours are available including a much less noticeable black but I thought the bright colour would catch my eye and serve as a reminder to get moving.

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I also went for the Jawbone Up not the 24 model as I didn’t want to commit to spending the money on the more expensive model until I was sure it was worth it. The main difference is that to sync my jawbone to the app on my phone I have to plug it in via the headphone socket. I quite like it as it means for a few seconds before it syncs I have a little moment where I wonder if I have achieved my goal for the day. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised, other days I am not. Basically the Jawbone records your steps and sleep. It can also record food & drink and you can program it to a timed mode so you can enter specific activities. You then use an app on your phone to look at all this. I love the little graph and the little motivational tips.

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The Jawbone has transformed my daily activities straight away. I spend hours at my desk every day. Before I would have guessed I moved around maybe every hour for a little dander around my library. I was wrong, it turns out I can easily be on my bum for 4 – 5 hours. I now have my jawbone set so it vibrates if I have been inactive for an hour. Sometimes I take this little hint and go for a dander, other times I don’t. It has made me think about walking places more. Now I relish the opportunity to walk to and from work (most days, still not Mondays or when it is snowing, or raining, I am only human after all!). When I get home if my step count is low I will go on the cross trainer. An hour on the cross trainer doesn’t seem so bad when I am going at a steady pace and watching something on my Kindle (I have Amazon Prime and now I am making full use of my membership!). I don’t use the food & drink facility (yet) but I do use the sleep function. Wearing the band in bed has proved to be easy peasy and I am now concious that I was not getting anywhere near enough sleep. I know plenty of people who get by no problem with less that 8 hours a night and I am aware that if we have children then I will look back on this and laugh at my naivety. However, be that as it may I am someone who suffers from migraines. As you may recall one of the reasons I started this blog was a tool to help combat my chronic headaches and migraines. Turns out getting more sleep is better for me all round! I am less grumpy, I have way more energy, I am enthusiastic about things, my head doesn’t hurt and I am just a much nicer person. So whilst the Boyo and I are child free we should really make the most of being able to get as much snooze time as we need. When I look at the Jawbone and it tells me I only had 6 hours sleep the previous night, I make a firm attempt to go to bed early that night. So yes I’d recommend a Jawbone or another one of the fitness bands on the market just now if you too are trying to get a bit more active. It helps with 4 of those goals I listed, I record my steps with it, I track activity (so daily exercise other than steps, eg cross trainer, swimming, cycling) and when I start going to a fitness class I’ll use it then too and it definitely makes me aware of how much sleep I am getting. Very handy indeed!

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Now on the topic of exercise classes… I have previously tried Jazzercise and liked it but due to other commitments at the time I didn’t pursue it. So I could try that again. Or I could do Scottish Country Dancing… I used to be pretty good at this in my teenage years! Or there is a Zumba class with very convenient times and location for me. I wanted to try Pilates but the local class is full and I would love to do Aquarobics but there isn’t a class to suit. What have you tried? Any suggestions? And do you think Zumba will be ok for an unifit clumsy me?

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I will post photos along the way for my various goals on instagram. #30for30th

 

Tomorrow – Foodie Friday! Tartiflette, goals and cookbooks!

 

 

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings

I was working on Sunday for the first time in two years, this has made me realise just how much working Monday-Friday suits me so I am glad this will likely only be a yearly occurrence.

So our wanderings this weekend had to be on Saturday, because I have been so busy recently and because I knew that I was going to be spending the whole of Sunday chatting to people I fancied a walk somewhere a bit more wild and off the beaten track. We decided therefore to not go to the Dunkeld area in Perthshire (we’ll likely be there in 2 weeks anyway) but to another part called Glendevon.
Upper Glendevon

We’d never been there before and we did see a few people out and about but not nearly as many as you do in some of the other more popular parts of Perthshire. It was a walk that involved walking up to two reservoirs which were quite impressive. The first one was very popular with people fishing, it was a bit of a surprise to see around 20 cars parked in what seems like the middle of nowhere! As they were fishing though it was very quiet. It was a nice easy walk. The weather wasn’t hot but it wasn’t cold either and it stayed dry. It was just good to be out in the fresh air. The little hut for the fishing also sells hot and cold drinks so we had had a wee refreshing drink of fanta on the way back.
Lower Glendevon

Click on this link to get walks around the area from Walk Highlands: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/perthshire/frandy-reservoirs.shtml

Glendevon Lambs>

We stopped at The Tormaukin Hotel for a coffee on our way back. We resisted the very tasty looking scones as we had already decided that we would be a little bit naughty and try out our local Chinese takeway at the new village. I think we’ll need to come back though and sample the food at this hotel sometime though as it looked like it was going to be really good.

http://www.tormaukinhotel.co.uk/

Our new local Chinese turned out to be very good, which is probably dangerous. Very good portion sizes (enough for me to have for 2 meals) and tasty without being stodgy.
We have a few more local places to try out including a Mexican restaurant and a Farm Cafe. We will certainly not be deprived for eating places in our new location.

Next weekend I may not be out wandering the wilds, instead I am heading to Glasgow for a day and then on the Sunday the Boyo and I are hoping to get our poor neglected bicycles out for a wee turn, fingers crossed for some sunshine.

Getting started…

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So I’m Merry, this will (hopefully) be a blog filled with Stories of books, cakes and wanderings.

I will blether about Cakes from my kitchen and other places, thoughts on books and bookcases and wanderings, sometimes my mind and sometimes on walks in the lovely land of Scotland.

I currently live in a little seaside town but very soon the Boyo and I are moving to the countryside, closer to where we both work. Our plan is to rent for a couple of years so I’ll no doubt chat a little about making our rental house into a home for us.