Castle Getaway

Tuesday, 17 March 2015



I was all set to let my 30th birthday pass with minimal fuss - with our wedding happening later this year I feel like that's enough attention for one year so was perfectly happy with a quiet birthday.  B had other ideas though, and so on Friday I was whisked away for a surprise weekend at a mystery destination.  In the car we went, Taylor Swift album on blast, and an hour later we arrived at a stunning castle in a small village near Stirling.  

We were staying at Broomhall Castle which is a traditional, family run hotel which sits at the foot of the Ochil Hills. Our room was absolutely HUGE and featured a four poster bed which excited me greatly, there's just something so grand about sleeping in a bed like that, especially in our castle surroundings.  I also loved the stone walls, and the traditional claw foot bath in the bathroom (where I enjoyed a lovely relaxing bath on the first night after popping into Lush for a bath bomb in town).  If pushed, I'd say the negatives about the room were that the old stone walls meant there was no wifi signal, and the creaky floors in the room above drove us a bit mad (especially when your upstairs neighbours decide to stay up chatting loudly and walking about the room until 4am) - neither of which can be helped by the hotel though, so really just nit picking.

We spent Friday doing a bit of shopping in Stirling followed by dinner at Monteray Jacks - so unhealthy but so damn good.  Sticking with the castle theme we spent Saturday exploring all the nooks and crannies at Stirling Castle.  Despite the fact that I was F-ing freezing (I was giving my new leather jacket a test drive and needless to say I regretted it) I had a brilliant time.  I always feel a bit of an affinity with castles - I feel weirdly at home in among the ruins.  Perhaps I'm a distant relative of Mary Queen of Scots, ha!







We also visited the Stirling Smith Museum & Art Gallery in the afternoon, after a quick lunch at Pizza Express.  The history of Stirling section was really interesting (can't say the same for the textiles section), and there was a cat snoozing in the entrance, so all in all a worthwhile visit.  At night we went out for a fancy dinner at The Grill Room (thanks to my pal Iona for the recommendation).  This was loooovely, and the perfect end to our weekend.  

So thanks very much to B for taking me away for the weekend, it was the ideal way to spend my birthday.  Next up is the second part of my birthday celebrations (which is also a mini hen do) with me flying to Paris on Thursday with my mum, sister, cousin & aunt.  We're doing some Paris sightseeing and also a day at Disneyland and I can't wait!  I'll no doubt be taking tons of photos so expect a post next week when I'm back :)



P.S.  I also vlogged my castle break which will be up on my Youtube channel in the next few days

50 TV Shows from my Childhood

Saturday, 14 March 2015
Writing my Turning 30 post the other day got me in a proper nostalgic mood and I ended up in a major Wikapedia spiral reading about TV shows I used to watch when I was a kid.  I knew things had gone too far when I found myself on the Twitter profile of the girl who played Joggy Bear, looking at photos of her baby.

Wikipedia: enabling stalkers since 2001.

I decided to make a list of 30 TV shows from my childhood to tie in with my 30th birthday, but it has somehow ended up at 50, and could have easily been longer.  I think we can safely say that my TV addiction started early….

How many of these do you remember?

1. The Family Ness

source

2. Charlie Chalk

3. Penny Crayon

4. Button Moon

5. Ducktales

Turning 30

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Today is my 30th birthday.

It's official.  I. am. a. grown. up.



30 feels like a proper grown up age doesn't it?  It's an age that has always felt really far away.  

It's the age I always looked to when thinking about my life goals and aspirations - the things I want to achieve "before I'm 30".  My list was always the standard - marriage, house, babies.  I'm sure those of you who have read my old diary posts will not be surprised by the fact that my goals revolved around finding a man and settling down.

Based on those goals I'm pretty sure teenage me would be disappointed that I'm not living in a big house with my husband and 3 kids, but I'd tell her that it really doesn't matter.  These things will happen when they're meant to happen.

age20
age 21

As I said in my Reasons to be Cheerful post, it's really all about how you look at things.  If I were to focus on the fact that I'm not exactly where I hoped I would be when I turned 30 then I'd spend my birthday feeling pretty shit about myself.  But I'm not.  I'm thinking about all of the things I've achieved over the last 10 years, about all of the exciting things I've got to look forward to, and about the fact that I'm happy.  Really really happy.  And that's the important thing.

age 22
age 23

When I think back to being 20 it's crazy how much my life has changed in 10 years.  When I turned 20 I was in my second year of a Psychology degree at Edinburgh University, living with friends and juggling a couple of part-time jobs (Debenhams home department, the ticket office & cloakroom at the student union, and Residents Assistant in uni accommodation), and I spent several nights a week drinking WKD's at Cav and The Big Cheese.

In the next few years I'd graduate university, get my first proper job in digital marketing, fall in and out of various relationships, eventually meeting "the one" at 23, within six months we'd be living together and then six years later, the day before my 29th birthday, we'd get engaged.

On a personal level I've grown up a lot over those 10 years and I feel like my twenties were definitely about finding myself.  And yes I realise how cheesy that sounds.  In my early twenties I was very much a people pleaser, I'd say yes to anything and was happy to just go along with what everyone else wanted to do.  I didn't really hold any strong opinions about anything, I didn't read the news and had no interest in current affairs or politics (I didn't even vote!).  I was super laid-back and easy going about everything - happy to just float along and take life as it came.

age 24
age 25

As I turn 30 I feel like I'm some ways I haven't really changed at all, but in others I'm a completely different person.  For the most part I think a lot of the elements of my personality have just grown and matured over the years, which I guess is the same for most people.  So yes I'm still a bit of a people pleaser, but I won't just blindly go along with a group and I definitely make my opinion heard a lot more.  I'm still pretty laid-back, but at the same time I'm a serious planner and am known for being super organised.  I'm a lot more strong minded and opinionated, but without being loud or outspoken.  My interests have also matured, sometimes I even choose to watch Newsnight ;)

I feel like I'm moving into my 30's with a clear idea of who I am and where I want to be, it might be different to how I expected, but hey that's ok.

age 26
age 27

So teenage me, I'm sorry that I didn't get married at 25 like you'd hoped - but do you realise how unrealistic that was - have you got any idea how expensive weddings are?!

I'm sorry I don't have a little brood of kids yet - but I'm not quite ready to give up my Sunday morning lie ins or hours spent on the sofa watching Netflix, or random weekend adventures, or last minute pub nights, or selfishly spending my wages on clothes and makeup.  There's no rush!

I'm sorry I don't own my own house - but hey if something in my flat breaks all I need to do is call the landlord and he'll send someone out to fix it FOR FREE.

And I'm sorry that I'm not a size 10, but at least my chubby little face still looks young (and bonus - no wrinkles).

You might be further disappointed to learn that I've had to start dyeing my hair blonde again to hide my increasing greys.

And that the last time I went to a nightclub I actually said "I mean this isn't even music, it's just noise".

And that I couldn't name or recognise any songs in the current top 10.

And that these days I choose holiday destinations based on the food and culture rather than nightlife.  

Sorry love.

age 28
age 29

So I might not be in the exact place I thought I would be by the time I'm 30, but what I do have is a job that I love where I have great prospects and get to travel;  a loving family; great friends - some that I've known for a decade, some I've just met in the last year (yeah, who knew you could still make new friends at 30!); and last but by no means least, a wonderful fiancĂ© who loves me more than I thought possible, who makes me laugh every day, who I'm excited to come home to every night, and on the 19th of September we will become husband and wife and it won't matter what comes next, because the important thing is that we be together for the rest of our lives.  How's that for exciting?

Oh and I hate to break it to you, but he's not Shane Filan.