Weekend Wandering – Sunshine at Foodies and a spot of Cliff Jumping

SUNSHINE!

Yes actual sunshine – what a wonderful surprise! The weather this summer hasn’t been great so to get some actual sunshine and on a Saturday was pretty good. I did get a little bit sunburnt on my neck (apparently I will never learn) but it felt so good to be out and about enjoying nice weather, eating tasty treats and spending time with very good friends. We were at the Foodies Festival  in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh on Saturday.

This year:

I sampled some blackberry gin (I bought a wee bottle, very tasty)

Ate Paella (YUM)

Shared a Twisty Chip (not as tasty as it looks),

Tasted some Peppermint Tonic (Peppermint helps my migraines so will see how this works out)

Tried Peppercorn Sauce (bought some and had it with steak for tea last night)

Loved a jar of Salted Caramel Sauce (Stashed away in the cupboard for a naughty pudding sometime)

And I bought a smoked garlic bulb (to keep vampires away)

We had a great time, Ice Cream was also consumed, obligatory when the sun is out and this year they had allowed a bit more space for the festival which was much better. My friends had brought a picnic rug which was excellent thinking on their part.

Afterwards The Boyo and I arrived back at my friends house early so we stole their dog…. well we took her for a wee walk, then enjoyed a pleasant evening eating pizza and yakking away. My friends only live an hour away but with busy lives we don’t see each other nearly as often as we should. I always enjoy good times in their company and their little 2 year old is the best wee person I know.

On Sunday we got up bright and early with my Dad in tow to go Canyoning with Nae Limits in Perthshire. We got all kitted up with full body wetsuits (not exactly designed for those well endowed in the chest area, breathing was tricky!), hard hats, life jackets, trainers and a climbing harness. Unfortunately when we got to The Falls of Bruar there was just too much water in the river. The rather dismal Scottish Summer scuppered our plans. Instead we went cliff jumping near Soldier’s Leap in Killiecrankie.

My Dad did really well jumping off the various sized cliffs. The Boyo and I did so badly with even the smallest jump that we were banned from doing any more jumps. This caused great amusement to both us and the rest of the group. The Instructors were glad we saw the funny side as really the way we were jumping we were going to hurt ourselves eventually. We did enjoy a swim in the river and watching everyone else tackle big big jumps. My shoulders are suffering today after swimming with all that kit on but the fresh water in the river was really rather nice to swim in. I love the water and I’m happy to jump, I just can’t do the required hop/leap needed to safely clear the cliff and to be honest both the Boyo and I are daft eejits anyway – well suited!

We will go Canyoning another time but I would encourage you to check out Nae Limits if you are in Perthshire and fancy some adventure. They do all sorts of activities, I’m really keen to try Tubing and Whitewater Rafting and they do mini adventures for kids too. The cafe and centre is just off the A9, South of Pitlochry and we enjoyed a good lunch after our activities, so even if you are not the adventurous (MAD) type then the cafe does good food too.

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Adieu to Summer Sunshine

Well folks I have to apologise for my lack of posts. I know this little fledgling blog is of little interest to most but I feel bad. As usual the start of term took me a little bit by surprise. You know it will be busy but somehow over the year you forget about just how manic it is. Work is challenging at the moment and my poor head has suffered this week but this morning I woke up and reminded myself about all the things I should do to make both my head and myself feel better and blogging is definitely on the hit list. Autumn is my favourite time of year, in fact when living abroad I missed seasons, particularly autumn a huge amount. So I always make an effort to get out and about in October to make the most of the beautiful season.

I have a few ideas and half written blogs written so I’ll jump back in with a weekend wandering post. This week I chat about beautiful Perthshire.

The Boyo and I managed to sneak away for a night a couple of weeks ago, both as an anniversary treat and a little moment of relaxation before start of the academic year hit (he’s in Higher education I am in Further education). When thinking about where to go we thought about Ardoe House in Aberdeenshire. We went there last year as a birthday treat for me and it was excellent. Probably the best hotel we have stayed in for the food, service, facilities and atmosphere. However we felt that it was a bit too far away for us this time (about 2 hours from our current abode) and we wanted to go so we had a think and we both decided on the same place. It was not a hard decision, Perthshire is a beautiful place and Dunkeld is one of our very favourite spots. So off to Dunkeld we went.

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We decided to do a walk that we have done before but it is a lovely walk and one I’d definitely recommend. It is called The Hermitage and features Forests, waterfalls, interesting buildings, a bridge which is very appropriately named Rumblin Bridge and a few fields as well. We use this book. But you can also find a route on the very excellent Walk Highlands website. This website has walks for all abilities all over Scotland.

   10628087_10153104072572334_8714602536731963339_n    The Hermitage

We were lucky that we also got to see the Fire and rescue services doing training in the river Braan. We’ve seen them once before here as well and it can be fun to watch.10612939_10153104072052334_5818435380321577386_n

 Fire and Rescue – it looked like fun!

When we arrived back in Dunkeld we stopped at our favourite café; Spill The Beans for refreshments, this involved Rose Lemonade and a big slice of cake. The café does do great food, their version of a Croque Monsiuer is delicious and the Boyo recommends the local Dunkeld smoked Salmon that is offered but the real reason we visit everytime we are in the vicinity is the cakes. There is always a magnificent display of cakes that tempt you as you walk in the café.

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Photo does not do justice to these delicious cakes at Spill The Beans.

Afterwards we realised that the Dunkeld & Birnam Highland Games were on so we wandered over to take a look. We were a bit late in the day but saw some cycling, dancing, bagpipe playing and haggis. It was a nice bonus and the sun was shining, I enjoyed telling the Boyo all about my former highland dancing days (many years ago).

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Dunkeld and Birnam Highland Games

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We checked into the Dunkeld Hilton – well we did want to spoil ourselves a little! The hotel itself was pleasant, the staff were very good and everything was very efficient which was impressive as they had 2 weddings, an anniversary party and a lot of ‘normal’ guests in. The room and pool were fine but they could do with a bit of tlc just to match the splendour of the surroundings. The surroundings are really magnificent. On the banks of the River Tay with large lawns and forest above you can’t really compete. Scenery like that just reminds us of how lucky we are to live where we do. The food in the restaurant was very good. Nice portions, sophisticated but still friendly menu (does that make sense?). After dinner we went for little 5 min walk outside. The restaurant does get very warm and after 3 courses you need a little blast of fresh air. I had got dressed up for dinner but my heels were not really suitable for moonlight wanderings, so a wee twirl by the Tay and in we went for a nightcap at the bar.10639637_10153104075772334_2809614412657423890_n Moonlight Twirling by The River Tay

 

Breakfast was good and plentiful (including tattie scones, yay!) and set us up for the day, it helped that we went swimming before breakfast so had worked up an appetite again! We sat outside to finish our cups of tea when lo and behold a birds of prey demonstration started, something else we hadn’t known about so it was another wee treat to have a close up look at some magnificent birds. For those worried it seemed like the birds were well treated, it runs as part of a conservation charity that rehabilitates and looks after injured wild birds as well as doing demonstrations.

 

When we checked out we headed over to Angus County for another walk, this time a path on the route of an old railway line around Newtyle. This was an easy walk for us; more or less flat the whole way and excellent activity to help digest the big breakfast!

 

We headed home via Dundee where I popped into a couple of shops to get fabric for sewing classes I have just started. It was a lovely weekend of wandering and good food. Now that we are in the midst of complete chaos I am very glad we had a couple of days just ourselves and relaxation. I’m in front of my computer for about 43 hours a week at the moment so time outdoors is very, very much appreciated!

 

I’ll be back soon with a Foodie Friday post.

 

Merry

A weekend of wandering

I wrote the last time about my lack of motivation thanks to a big bad migraine but I am very pleased to report that a 3 day weekend has well and truly restored that motivation.

On Saturday we had some errands to run in our nearest town. Our car had not been cleaned properly for a very long time and we decided it was seriously overdue. So we opted to go for a bit of a cheat, we paid to have it valeted and washed. It was really worth it, it is like a brand new car. At the garage I also saw a lovely red mini. I can drive but only automatic so at some point in the next 6 months we hope to get a car that we can both drive but the Boyo is not convinced that a mini would be practical. L The funny thing is that although we live in the countryside and not a town anymore I can actually get to work and out and about by public transport easier than before so the car hunt isn’t as urgent. That afternoon we went wandering one of our nearby paths, a little bit in the woods and a little bit through the fields. We are lucky to live where we do.

Sunday was forecast to be a nice day but we didn’t expect it to be as nice as it was, it was a lovely sunny day. We went for a big wander around Crieff in Perthshire. The first half was around ‘The Hosh’, this was mostly a walk through woods and you go past the Glenturret distillery. Before attempting the second part we called in at Crieff Hydro for refreshments. We were very impressed with the hotel, so much so we’d like to save up and splurge on a weekend there. We were able to sit on a balcony and I enjoyed a delicious scone with cream and jam. One of things that impressed us was the amount of things going on in and around the hotel. On the lawn outside the bistro they had a trampoline, mini tennis, giant connect 4 and people were enjoying lunch outside and children were happily playing on the lawn. For a place that seemed rather posh it was wonderfully welcoming and friendly feeling. Around the hotel we saw big tennis courts, a horse riding centre, golf, a woodland treetops adventure course, and signs of lots of other activities. With the hotel being right on the edge of Crieff surrounded by beautiful Perthshire countryside it seemed like a terrific place to go on holiday. They had villas so perhaps it would be worth clubbing together with friends or family for a holiday. The second part of our walk was up and around ‘The Knock’. A short steep climb leads you to the top where you get magnificent views. I have problems with my knees so I can’t really do proper hill climbing, this was manageable and the walk was in splendid sunshine. It was such a lovely way to spend Sunday.

Yesterday we took advantage of an extra day off and after my hypnotherapy appointment we went to Inverkeithing where we walked a small part of the Fife Coastal path, over the Forth bridge and then down into South Queensferry. Walking over the Forth Bridge is something I have wanted to do for a while. I love the Forth Railway Bridge – to me it is such a magnificent icon of Scotland. As a teenager I kayaked under it, one of the great activities part of a Guide camp. From the road bride you get a brilliant view of the railway bridge. Walking over the bridge made me appreciate a little bit more the amazing architecture and volume that the bridge deals with everyday. Very clever people design these things! The new crossing is well underway and looks like it will be very big as well. I don’t know why I like bridges so much but I find something very interesting about them. It is probably because my brain is not mathematical in the slightest so comprehending how someone can actually design them is awe inducing then the feats of engineering as well.Forth

On Sunday it was also the final of the football – at long last! I am not interested in football in the slightest but I had said that I would make tea according to whatever two countries were in the final. So for Argentina we had a mixed meat grill including peppered beef steaks, chorizo and thin garlic rubbed minute steaks. For Germany we had some frankfurters and a cheese noodle baked dish. I had misgivings about the noodle dish but according to the Boyo it was just like the dish he had when he was in Germany last year. It actually tasted nice. All together a very random dinner!Football food

Now for the motivation, the theme of this blog is a Merry and healthy lifestyle so that is what I really am focusing on.

I have started taking my vitamins again.

I am working hard on eradicating my migraines and not taking painkillers unless absolutely essential.

I am consciously thinking about food again. This means not just cooking stuff on a whim but thinking about being good 5 out of 7 days. This means I will try to have 1 veggie day a week. I am reading about 5:2 and paleo diet principles again. I am unlikely to adopt either wholeheartedly but some of the principles are excellent.

I am working on tasks my hypnotherapist has given me.

And I am starting up a proper exercise routine combining walking, swimming, cross trainer and cycling.

And finally I am also thinking about what I am spending. For the future I need to save more and learn how to budget properly. There is an excellent post by blogger Still Being Molly that I’m using for inspiration with this.

So in short some sunshine and wandering can do wonders for your motivation!

Merry

 
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Wanderings & Would Likes

    Wanderings and Would Likes

Dearie me, it has been so long sine I did a post. I have lots of ideas but I’ve had a rough few days and not much energy for work or anything. I have a history of chronic headaches and migraines that I am working on improving, but some dental treatment last week has led to a week of headaches.

The first week in the new house was great. All the unpacking is done and everything seems to be working out really well. We’ve had issues with our internet provider and are switching in the next couple of weeks and I have seen a couple more spiders than I would like (resulting in some scary dreams!) but overall the move has gone very smoothly and the Boyo and I are very happy with our new location.

Wanderings
Our wanderings over the weekend involved a wander around Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy and then getting lost in the woods above Raith Loch behind the park. http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/atoz/index.cfm?fuseaction=facility.display&facid=ACD495D9-2942-423E-A89B2874D1E99F3A
It was fun and thankfully the weather was pleasant, getting lost and having to navigate bushes, bogs and burns in the rain would not have been so much fun. I was quite impressed with the park – looked like there was a lot to do so we’ll be back at some point. Kirkcaldy is only 20 minutes from our new house so it is a convenient place to go if I need to nip to some bigger shops (eg boots, M&S) that our new rural locality doesn’t offer.

I also got my hair chopped (very expensive getting colour re-done but now back to natural hair colour with highlghts, hooray) and a very quick (5 minutes!) wander around Fife Farmers Market – enough time to get some Isle of Arran Cracked Black Peppercorn Cheese (so good) and some lavender syrup and lavender sugar for experimentation in the kitchen. An update on these experiments will follow shortly.

Would LikesI thought I’d have a little look online at some of the shops I often buy from to see if there was anything I’d like. I am going on holiday next month to Hong Kong and throughout the summer months my workwear policy is relaxed but I usually try to stick to smart casual. I am unlikely to actually go and buy any of these things before the holiday as I’d like to save my pennies for Hong Kong. I bought a pair of navy chino shorts, a new white vest top and another coral top and that will have to do in next. I am wearing the coral top for a fourth time today so it is already a success. I have a lot of wonderful clothes but I don’t fit into many of them at the moment so finding a complete selection of holiday clothes without buying anything else will be a challenge but if I keep buying clothes that are bigger I’ll never lose the pesky weight that I need to lose in order to fit into my pretty dresses again and improve my health.

Marks & Spencers – M&S dresses can sometimes be great, sometimes not, this is mostly due to my size. Slightly on the bigger up top and tall means that dresses often are not quite proportioned right for my body but the following are definitely ones that I would like to try on!

I thought this dress was very pretty. It would be nice on my holiday but also for work throughout the summer months and it would be a nice one to dress up for a summer party. http://www.marksandspencer.com/floral-prom-dress/p/p22293911

I really like this dress, it is a real classic that could be worn throughout the year for various things.
http://www.marksandspencer.com/pure-cotton-cut-out-prom-dress/p/p22293806

This may be one that I’ll end up trying on after holiday time. I can just see it being very useful.
A very simple summer dress that would have been perfect for wandering around Hong Kong. http://www.marksandspencer.com/tile-print-chrochet-trim-fit-and-flare-dress/p/p22295610

Oooh and a very unusual multi-way dress, I’d definitely like to try this on but no doubt it will just not work with my shape at all. Still nice though. A bit fancier, good for a night out or an evening do at a wedding. http://www.marksandspencer.com/multiway-lace-print-ombre-skater-dress/p/p22288132

And finally, this is one I am going to have to try on. It would be perfect for work jazzed up with jewellery and scarves. http://www.marksandspencer.com/broderie-striped-skater-dress/p/p22274073

BHS – I hadn’t been in a BHS in years but over the last year I’ve managed to pick up a few dresses for work in there. A black dress with cobalt blue and white polka dots has been my most frequently worn item of clothing over the last few months (http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/chiffon-belted-dress-2522736?bi=201&ps=200 ). I also think BHS do fantastic tights. Marks & Spencers used to be the best but then they seemed to adjust their sizes and in order to find tights long enough for my lanky legs I have to get them way too big and they just seemed to ladder so easily. BHS are cheaper, their tights are long enough (hooray) and I think that they are fairly good quality. My winter black ones have lasted 3 years and I wear skirts and dresses and therefore tights nearly everyday for work.

I love this dress. I think it would be lovely for a summer wedding. I can just see myself wearing it with lovely dark blue accessories (or cream/white having found the shoes mentioned below). I have one wedding to go to this summer but I already have so many really lovely dresses. The wedding isn’t until August so I do hope I manage to fit back into my dresses before then, otherwise I may have to investigate this one further. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/organza-check-prom-dress-2831857?bi=1&ps=200

This dress makes me think of the 50s and pretty ladies out enjoying the sunshine… however it is linen and as much as I think it will be so cool and comfortable I know that linen and I just don’t seem to get along too well. Example: I buy lovely linen trousers, think oh these are so smart and comfortable, great, and put them on in morning, all happy with outfit then by lunchtime feel like I am wearing extremely crumpled pyjamas and feel a bit of a mess. Alas. However I do see that this dress is a linen mix so perhaps it would hold its shape a little better. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/blue-linen-fit-n-flare-dress-2763828?bi=1&ps=200

I actually have a dress that is basically the same shape and material as tis from BHS except my one is blue and is covered by butterflies. Extremely comfy. Again one that I can see me thinking about until I actually do go and try it on. Luckily I do not live close to these shops. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/spot-tea-dress-2885567?bi=1&ps=200

Now onto Debenhams and some skirts. Generally I prefer my skirts to be sort of A-line and on or just above the knee. I have a couple of longer and midi skirts which I am experimenting with as although I’ve got the height my librarian-y fashion tendencies (I am actually a librarian not just stereotyping) mean that if I am not careful I can look a bit frumpy. Or mad. Or both.

How lovely is this skirt? I even have a lovely daisy necklace that would be perfect with it, and oooh it is reduced! I am on dangerous territory here! http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_028020234460_-1

A long skirt, something I rarely wear. The Boyo is not a fan of long dresses or skirts on me, no idea why he is just odd. He actually thinks I look best in my knee length a-line dresses and skirts, which is my natural comfort zone so I am not complaining. It would be annoying if he was the type of boy who liked me all dressed up in short skirts and nails and hair all perfect because that really isn’t me! Anyway this skirt just looks comfy and easy-breezy for a hot day. Probably not one I’ll actually buy though. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_038010221343_-1

This is actually a Joe Browns Skirt I found through the Debenhams website, I keep meaning to get something from Joes Browns. I basically love 98% of everything they have but I’ve never actually bought anything. Maybe this year.. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_61068+LS258A_-1

Ok Shoes…. I have shoes from all sorts of places. My feet have been the same size since I was 16 so I have some fairly old pairs of shoes as well as some new. I have skinny feet whereas the rest of me is not skinny and I also have dodgy knees. This means I tend to go for shoes with straps and low heels. I already have my sandals looked out for the summer – a black low wedge pair from Clarks – no idea how old, a gold strappy pair of flats from New Look and another green pair I got for a wedding couple of years ago that are nearly but not quite flat. I also have several pairs of pumps that fit my special insoles for those dodgy knees, these have been bought over the years in M&S, Clarks, New Look, and just wherever I find them, very rarely do I ever find shoes in TK Maxx or H&M – they just do not really go big enough. The low heels I wear for work mostly come from M&S and Monsoon. And I have 3 pairs of espadrilles in sunny coral, useful black and green because I like green things. I like most colours really. I’m not picky where I get my shoes from, just that they are comfy and practical and usually are colourful – shoes are a great way to finish off an outfit. My sister says that they don’t finish an outfit, that they start an outfit. So when choosing what she will wear she always thinks about the shoes that she would like to wear that day first.

I just bought these Cobalt Blue pumps in BHS, £10 = bargain and I will get lots of wear out of them this summer! http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/flat-shoes-2841030/cobalt-ballerina-shoe-2652278?bi=1&ps=40

I can’t wear sandals with the toe post thingy – just makes me feel squeamish! (The thought of toe socks positively give me the heebie-jeebies so I must just be odd about toes!) I like these ones from Accessorize. The colours mean they would go with a lot of outfits and would be great with shorts, dresses, skirts or jeans. I’m unlikely to actually get these as they really don’t offer much support, I did have a pair of Acessorize sandals that I wore to death when I lived in China, they were really super so if you don’t have knee issues like me I’d suggest having a look at these. http://uk.accessorize.com/view/product/uk_catalog/acc_3/5950689939

I love these heels from Monsoon, they much more expensive than my normal shoe budget so it would have to be for a very special occasion. They actually would be nice with that pinky-coral dress from BHS I mentioned above. Or be lovely for a bride who was going for a more 50s tea length style dress (I am not getting married, this is not a hint or a clue!) Anyway they are pretty and play to my love of vintage style things. http://uk.monsoon.co.uk/view/product/uk_catalog/mon_4,mon_4.22/5430134642

I think these shoes are FAB! I’ve not bought anything from Schuh in a while, but I’m so tempted by these. I’d actually wear them for work (tiny bit quirky/mad I know), they are also available in a floral colourway. http://www.schuh.co.uk/womens-navy-and-white-schuh-tap-dance/1223575970/

Okay I think that is probably quite enough. I’m now very tempted and everyone reading this is probably bored! What do you plan on wearing this summer? Any fabulous holiday plans?

Hoping I’m now getting back into the swing of things, a thought for Thursday post and Foodie Friday should be on the way over the next few days! We haven’t yet planned our weekend wanderings for next weekend. I’m working on the Sunday but Perthshire is definitely beckoning on the Saturday… and my favourite tearoom – Spill The Beans in Dunkeld is long overdue a visit! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spill-The-Beans-At-MacPhails-of-Dunkeld/285674418153297

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