Friday, 15 July 2016

HOW NOT TO BOWL ME OVER . . .

So I've been enjoying a couple of days off work this second half of the week, and this meant I could catch up with my sister (she works in retail so often has random week days off). We decided to go bowling, as neither of us had been in a while. We both love it - I'm shit at it but want to be good (plus the fact that I can enjoy a vino or three while playing is obviously an added bonus) and she is great at it and who doesn't love a game that you're great at?!?

However, there are a couple of things that do irritate me about bowling - would you expect anything less from me??? - so I decided it would be an ideal time to write a blog post about this while it's still fresh in my head! So let's get on with it, shall we?


Getting set up . . . for instant failure!
You want to be all independent when the staff ask whether you need help setting up your names etc at your lane, and say you can do it yourself. Then you look at the little screen and think "How the fuck does this even work?" and have to end up asking for help anyway . . . so you may as well have just let the staff member hold your hand right through the process anyway. Less humiliating overall!

Sharing is most definitely NOT caring
I hate that you effectively have to share a lane with another group of people. I know you have your own lane, but the way it's set up with the seats facing each other and you sharing a bowl machine (I have no idea what the technical name of it is!) it does feel like you're having your party invaded by another party. Especially when they actually do take over some of your space. As you may know about me, I am not a fan of people invading my personal space.

The machines don't make sense!
So you'd think in this day and age that you could throw a ball down your lane and it would actually return to your side of the machine right? Why doesn't it? To me, the tussle for bowling balls with the people in the neighbouring lane is definitely exacerbated by this issue. Which leads me onto . . .

People and their balls
Seriously, why do you need so many bowling balls within your party? There's space for like, what, five balls on each side? Do you really need more than that? You know they come back to you (mostly - refer to previous point) after you send them flying down the lane, right? You don't actually need ten spares . . . pun not intended! Oh, and while we're on the subject it would be nice if you put your chosen bowling balls back where you got them when you were leaving so that the next lot of people who want to use the lane don't have to try and work out what ones were yours so they can move them without stealing the balls that their neighbours are using. Just a thought!

Ball thiefs
I know there are a limited amount of bowling balls available, especially in certain sizes. But don't just come up and take a bowling ball from someone's lane without asking first.  And if you see the person in your neighbouring lane using a certain bowling ball all the time and have taken a fancy to it for some reason . . . GO AND GET YOUR OWN rather than using it when it's your neighbours turn so they have to wait around for it. One time the fella and I were at the bowling and the two older couples we were facing kept using the one bowling ball I had brought into the lane (before they turned up, might I add!) even though they had brought over a selection of completely different weights to this one before they started playing! Infuriating.

Faulty machinery
THREE TIMES there was an issue with our pins yesterday, and we had to wait for help. One of the times it even involved a technician having to look at it in around the back of the lanes. The third time it happened we didn't even know if that was it fixed and my sister finally took her shot hoping that there wasn't some poor guy in the back who was about to be attacked by her bad-ass bowling technique! We don't think there was . . . but then maybe he just hadn't been found by the time we left. We didn't hear any screams anyway so let's assume it's okay!

The price
Is it just me who finds bowling ridiculously expensive? We paid 36 pounds for three games, and because there was only two of us, it was over in an hour. And it would have been less time if it hadn't been all the waiting around for our lane to be fixed. Literally the only time I think you can get a discount in our local bowling alley is if it's your birthday . . . so I guess the best solution for me would be to make friends with people who like bowling who have birthdays coming up! Good plan, Paula! :-)

What do you think? Have I hit the nail on the head with these (Or I guess this case the question should be "have I hit the pin with the ball with these!)? Have I missed any? Please feel free to share in the comments section.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

CASHEW BUTTER FUDGE . . .

I’m a wee bit obsessed with Pinterest. I don’t really understand how it actually works and I’m not really sure if I actually care that I don’t . . .but I really just like drooling over pictures of food on it.
 
I’m also a teeny bit in love with cashew nut butter. (Remember the time I made cashew butter cups? Sometimes I still think about those. Mmmm . . . )
 
These two admissions seem unrelated but, trust me, they’re very much interlinked.
 

Back in January while planning my latest health kick, I was browsing through Pinterest for healthy recipes while drinking some bottles of Mixed Fruit Kopparberg (like one does!) when I happened across some recipes for healthy peanut butter fudge. Now, I’ve made peanut butter fudge before but it included the slightly more processed version of peanut butter and icing sugar, so I think we can safely assume that it was not a healthy variety! These versions were much more natural and unprocessed, and I immediately wanted to try to make some for myself.
 
The problem is that I never seem to have the correct ingredients for these kind of recipes. I’ll have coconut flour and oil when a recipe calls for coconut butter or sugar, I have no clue what liquid amino even looks like, and I use a stick blender whenever a food processor is called for – usually with mixed (pun not intended) results. So I looked through loads of recipes, couldn’t find any with ingredients that completely matched the current contents of my kitchen, and decided to improvise.
 
The results were good, but I forgot the recipe. So I kept meaning to recreate it, but that pesky thing we call life kept getting in the way. But the fella has been trying to quit sugar of late, and when he bemoaned not being able to find sweet things to eat, I decided this was the ideal time to try and make it once again.
 
And so, ladies and gents, I present to you . . . cashew butter fudge!!! (So good it had to be introduced in bold.)
 

The pros? It’s delicious. Absolutely delectable. It’s sugar-free. It’s even vegan, I believe.
 
The cons? It’s more-ish. Oh so very more-ish. And even though it’s full of good ingredients, these ingredients are pretty much exclusively high calorie ingredients. So you really don’t want to eat too much of it. Also, it’s not particularly portable – you’re going to want to keep it in the freezer when you’re not storing it in your mouth and stomach.
  

  • 4 tablespoons of cashew butter (I used Meridian smooth cashew butter)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil
  • A few drops vanilla essence
  • Sprinkling of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of rice syrup
  • Cacao powder (optional and up to you really how much you put in – I probably sprinkled in somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon).
 
The method is ridiculously simple. Just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it together. (I stuck the cashew butter and coconut oil in the microwave for 20 seconds just to soften it a bit first and make it easier to mix – the other ingredients mixed in without any difficulty!) Pour into a plastic tub once it is mixed and let it set in the freezer before breaking it up into pieces. (If you’re as lazy as me, you could even mix it IN the plastic tub you’re going to put in the freezer and it means even less dishes!)
 
I also made some coconut "crack bars" from Chocolate Covered Katie's blog... so good!

Then eat just one piece. Then another. Then another. Then put it in the freezer to stop yourself only to return to get another piece. Twice. Okay, three times. Then lock the freezer and throw away the key.
  
Just me? ;-)

Anyway, so I'm just off to the freezer. For some . . . frozen vegetables?

Who am I kidding? I'm off to cram the rest of the fudge in my face. See ya!






Monday, 27 June 2016

BEING FOLLOWED (AKA SOCIAL MEDIA GOALS) . . .

I was doing pretty well on blog so far this year I reckoned. I'd been posting fairly regularly, coming up with some good ideas, producing (in my view) some decent content . . .

And then I went on holiday.

I knew I wouldn't be blogging in Corfu and I was okay with that. But I was thinking of ideas the whole time, so inspired and motivated to get back home and make these ideas into blog posts. But then I got home and just felt a bit "meh" about everything, and as a result, I haven't really been posting very much.

So I want to get inspired again. I still have a list of ideas of things I want to post - I just need to make the ideas into actual posts. And I've been thinking for a while about setting some social media goals, just to try and give myself a bit of a proverbial kick up the arse. The numbers are set out below, and I'm going to give myself until the end of August to see if I can hit them or, even better, surpass them. So . . . let's do this!!!



BLOGLOVIN . . .
So back in the days of Google Reader, I was actually pretty popular - but ever since it was removed and Bloglovin became the new way everyone got their blog fix, I have struggled to build up my followers. At the moment I'm at 62 which I know isn't awful, but it would be nice to get a bit more popular on there. So I'm going to aim to get up to 100 followers. Wish me luck . . . and follow me on bloglovin too, for the love of God! ;-)


FACEBOOK . . .
I actually only set up my blog's Facebook page a couple of months ago - I hesitated over doing it because it meant promoting myself a wee bit to my Facebook friends to build up likes and although I don't mind people in real life knowing about my blog, I still don't really advertise it. But I figured it was a good way to drive some people over to my blog (I'm still waiting to be proved right on that!). I have managed to get 71 likes on that page (mostly actual Facebook friends) so let's be highly original and go for 100 likes there too. (You can find my Facebook page here, hint hint!)


TWITTER . . .
I probably currently get the most traffic to my blog from Twitter, so it's important for me to get engagement on there! I also think I'm pretty funny on it, but it has taken me a long time to build up the following I have - as I type I'm at 1621 followers but by the time I hit publish on this post I may have lost or gained a few! Most likely lost. I tend to lose several followers every time I gain a few so it's a very much "one step forward, two steps back" kind of situation. Anyhoo . . . let's try and drive this up to 1700, shall we? And if you're not following me already on there, then why not? I'm pollypoptart. Get following. :-)


INSTAGRAM . . .
Last but by no means least, we have Instagram. Now, I currently am not really advertising my blog on there and I'm no good at flatlays and I literally just post whatever pops into my head (which is a bit like the way I am in real life  - there is a reason why someone once told me I should think before I speak and then not speak at all!) but I post some nice food pics and some not-quite-as-nice selfies (I'm not good friends with the forward facing camera). I currently have 621 followers on there (exactly 1000 less than on twitter, how weird!) so how about I try for 700? And since my main theme so far on this post has been one of shamelsss self-promotion, this section would not be complete surely without a link to my aforementioned Instagram account . . . so here it is!


So in order to try and get to my goals, I'll be trying once again to blog more regularly, promote myself on the various social media channels, joining in more twitter chats and generally just selling myself.

And if you have any other advice you can give me, please feel free to share!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

HAIRY ISSUES . . .

I often feel like I'm having a full-time bad hair day.

Is it just me?

I look around at other people with their beautiful hair and I wonder if they go through as much shit with their hair as I do. I seriously can't cope sometimes. Let me break down some of my issues with my so-called crowning glory . . .



My parting - or lack thereof . . .
My hair just won't part properly. I don't know what it is. It seems to naturally fall into some random zig-zag of a part, and when I try to fix this, it just looks ridiculous. I walked into a parking barrier (I know, what an idiot, right?) when I was seven or eight and I needed stitches in my head, and ever since I've never been able to do a proper centre parting. I'm not saying it's related but I think it is! But then every other parting looks ridiculous too, so maybe it really is just my hair!

Bedhead . . .
There is literally no point in me washing and drying my hair at night and expecting it to look nice the next day. Regardless of the temperature, regardless of if I'm tossing and turning all night, I will wake up with completely unrecognisable hair to that of the day before's.  If I've blow-dried and straightened it, it will be wavy. If I've let it dry naturally in waves which looked okay the night before, it will be frizzy. It will definitely be tangled to fuck. I'm no fairytale princess, that's for sure.

Hair grows . . .
Does it? Mine doesn't.  I don't even feel like there would be a point in getting extensions as my real hair would still be there, looking shit. (I've done the clip-in extensions before - was always a laugh when I got caught in the rain and my natural curls would kick in while the extensions would stay straight.)

Curly or straight . . .
It seems the quickest way for my hair to go curly is to straighten it, and vice versa. Plus, even though my hair is naturally wavy, it does not naturally look good that way. To make it look good wavy, I have to either blow dry it straight/leave it to dry naturally and then tong it. And as for "creating beachy waves with straighteners"? That seems to be the quickest way for me to end up with straight hair. Oh, the irony . . .

Tying hair back . . .
So most people, when they're having a bad hair day, have a simple solution . . . they just tie their hair back in a ponytail or some other sort of updo et voila, they're good to go! I usually struggle to get my hair looking decent pulled back and after ten minutes of trying I have to go out with my hair loose, 50 times greasier than it was when I started, with my bad hair day right there on top of my head for the whole fecking world to see!

Hair tutorials . . .
I love pretty hairstyles and watching hair tutorials and I'd love to be able to make them work like they actually do in tutorials on my actual hair. Unfortunately around 90% of the time, it does not work everytime. Or any time for that matter. (I do have a few with you though, that I will share with you one day. Maybe.) I can't even follow a simple "bouncy big blow-dry"tutorial. Maybe one day . . .


Is it just me who has these sort of hair issues? Please tell me I'm not the only one who has a virtually permanent bad hair day? Or share your own hair issues? Please!!!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

(MAYBE DON'T) WALK THIS WAY . . .

Things are rarely what they seem, especially on the internet.

I know this from personal experience. Look at this post, for example, from a few months ago, where I talk about the sometimes false impressions various social media platforms may have given about me in the past (and present, and future) and you'll see what I mean.

I wanted to revisit one of the points I made back in that post - the one about me possibly sometimes giving the impression that I'm really outdoorsy and active when in actuality I am often just hopping out of the car for a moment or two to take a picture while whining about it being too cold and windy. One time, actually, on the Isle of Skye, it was so windy my phone actually blew out of my hand! But I digress.

My point here is . . . I do actually walk sometimes. And, like I said back in that post, I'm usually not too happy about it.



I start off happy. I'm always enthusiastic about the idea of walking up a hill or the side of a waterfall. Initially. I actually do like walking. It's just I generally prefer my walking on the flat. Unfortunately, most pretty things made in nature are not on the flat. So it's a necessary evil.

Very evil.

On one recent walk, the fella threatened to start a Tumblr about the things I come out with when I'm on one of these very trying walks. I'm pretty sure they are normal things for people to say though. You want some examples??? I have a few . . .

  • "Why is it so steep?"
  • "Why are you walking so fast? Do you not want to be seen with me?"
  • "Why aren't we there yet?"
  • "My feet are wet!"
  • "I'm SINKING!"
  • "I thought you said this was only going to be five minutes? That's been five minutes. Since the last time you said five minutes!"
  • "WHERE DID THIS NEW BIT OF HILL APPEAR FROM? I THOUGHT WE WERE NEARLY THERE! YOU CAN'T SEE THIS FROM THE ROAD!"
  • "You mean this isn't the top????"
  • "My calves hurt sooooo much."

Let me give you a wee bit of background of what I was whining about behind some of these pictures which may or may not have appeared on social media . . .



Kilpatrick Hills, the other week . . . "Why did you tell me that those five year olds were catching up on me? You know I don't like being chased!!!"

Conic Hill, last month . . . "What do you mean 'we need to move; it's going to rain'? I only walked up here so I could sunbathe at the top!!!"


Queen's View, the day after Conic Hill (I must be a sucker for punishment) . . .  "well we're going to have to go back to yours before we go bowling now because MY FEET ARE COVERED IN MUD!"


In Glenashdale Forest on the Isle of Arran . . . "I'm just going to hide behind this tree until you agree we can give up and go back to the car."

Okay . . . that one was a bit of a joke. But by the time I'd tried to walk from the Glenashdale Falls to the Giant's Graves, which I believed would be less than five minutes walk apart, I was NOT a happy P. :-(

See? Chief Grumpus is reigning supreme in this little pic!

So I guess there are a couple of morals to this little story . . .

1) I am an unfit, belligerent git but I still like to look at pretty views
2) If you have been reading my Scotland the Beautiful posts and I describe something as being an easy walk, it really is easy!

Oh and the final lesson?

I keep thinking I want to climb a Munro.

Based on all of the above, I'm probably not ready.

Ever.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

5 REASONS WHY FAKE TAN MAKES ME SAD . . .

I hate fake tan.

Not on other people. On other people it looks amazing. And I'm sure it's worth the time they spend doing it.

Not so much on me.

I rarely use fake tan. I will use it if I am getting my pins out for a night out, but usually on my legs only. The rest of the time, I'll rely on a suntan from holidays/the rare sunny day in Glasgow and if I go paler over winter then so be it! Because I really am not a fan.

It's loathsome. And here's why . . .


1) More often than not, it's an absolute BUGGER to put on.
What a fecking palaver it is. You actually have to set aside a large window of time to deal with fake tanning, and some of that involves trying not to touch anything for hours so that you don't accidentally smear it and end up with white bits. Or end up fake-tanning bits of furniture or clothing by accident. Plus, it's really difficult to reach some bits by yourself - your back for example. Nightmare! You end up wishing you were a contortionist just so you can ensure you have an even tan.

2) The biscuit smell.
I like biscuits, but I don't have any particular desire to SMELL of them! And even fake tans that smell lovely upon application still result in you ultimately smelling like a stale tea biscuit. And who wants that? Not me!

3) The hand dilemma
I always end up with a ridiculous hand tan situation . . . I always end up with bright orange hands even though I've tried to wash the shit off me as soon as I've finished applying. But also, when I'm trying to remove the lotion from the palms of my hands unsuccessfully, it usually is a lot more successful on the back of my hand and I end up with horrid streaky bits around my fingers. I know a lot of people use gloves but I don't really understand how that would work either - I'd probably end up with a white line around my wrist that I managed to miss.

4) When it starts to come off
It never comes off evenly. I remember applying fake tan to my legs for a night out once - it was meant to last for a week maximum and it did what it said on the bottle. Apart from my feet. I go to pole fitness once a week which we do in bare feet and for at least three weeks after that fake tan application I had horrendously brown ankles in that class. Mortifying!

5) I'm scared of it
If you use a new one, you just don't know what the results will be. I'm old school and tend to use the ones that are invisible on application, so there's always that unpredictability of whether it will be streaky or not. I know some people use fake tan that they have to wash off after a certain amount of time to reveal the proper tan underneath... that also terrifies me! Oh, and there's also the terror that I'll mess it up if I put it on my face . . . am I meant to put it EVERYWHERE? What if I mess it up? Will foundation hide it?

In conclusion?

It's a necessary evil, yes - unfortunately living in Scotland I can't avoid using it a lot of the time due to the Scottish weather. And with all of the warnings about sun exposure causing premature ageing and skin cancer, it's definitely the better option. But I'm sure others can identify with my issues with the stuff. And please, if you do have any tips on how to avoid the above problems . . . then please feel free to share these with me!!!

Friday, 10 June 2016

P'S WATER CHALLENGE . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make.

*insert deep breath here*

I hate water.

Okay . . . I exaggerate a bit. I don't hate it as such - that would be slightly churlish given that it is all over the bloody place!!! And I love swimming in it, and baths, and we can't forget all the beautiful lochs I love to gaze at.

It's the drinking it I have a problem with.



I've never really understood people who say things like "I love water, I can't get enough of it."

That sort of sentence I would pretty much reserve solely for wine. Water doesn't even come close. Even Jesus knew that.

But at the same time, I know that water is far far better for me than wine. Which is a sad, but true, fact and one I have struggled to accept.

Anyway . . .

I feel like my dislike of drinking water holds me back a bit. Well, except in the peeing department because I probably take far less loo breaks than most. So I cut down on loo time, but I don't think that's really a benefit, except maybe for my employers!

So I've set myself a couple of wee challenges this week and one of them is to drink at least two litres of water a day.  My plan was pretty simple:

1) Buy a two litre bottle of water
2) Take to work with me
3) Pour into a drinking cup with an inbuilt straw, refill drinking cup as required, empty full bottle

Why this is a good plan?

1) I drink water far easier through a straw - don't ask me why!
2) If I have the water at my desk and don't have to go to the water machine to refill, I am more likely to drink it. This is because it's not really acceptable to go to the water machine without having to ask everyone else if they want a drink too, and I'm not good at carrying multiple open receptacles, and walking and negotiating fob-access doors at the same time. So I'll tend to put off going to fill my cup, or opt for a can of juice instead because it's easy to carry multiple cans!

I've now completed the second day of my challenge, and have actually managed to finish two litres of water within four hours both times. I now need to either start spreading the drinking of it out over a longer period of time a day . . . or possibly drink more water each day?

Nah. Let's not get carried away here! ;-)

How do you feel about drinking water? And do you have any tips for making the whole process easier?

Sunday, 5 June 2016

LOUNGER WARS . . .

When you're on a holiday there is always the fear that you'll fall foul of the dreaded sunlounger stand-off . . . well, if you're on a sunshine holiday anyway, obviously if you've headed to the Arctic or on a city break you might not necessarily face such a problem! But if you're somewhere with a pool and sunloungers, there's always a chance that you will experience all of the downsides of people who can't play nice in the pool area.

Now, I've usually been pretty lucky in this respect. There has been the odd holiday I've been on where it's been impossible to get a lounger because they are all bagged, don't get me wrong - but largely I can get a lounger in the sunshine which I can move around if necessary . . . and my recent holiday to Corfu was no exception.


All of the loungers could be in the sunshine all day, which was good. Usually you have a little pocket of the pool where the loungers are the best in terms of sunshine, but I don't think that was really the case with this pool.

You still got the odd person coming out and bagging a lounger and then fucking off for several hours, it seems to be inevitable! But because we were in a half full apartment complex probably due to it being a) very early in the season and b) a Friday 13th flight it didn't really affect us.

But there were these two woman who really started to piss us off with the loungers. To the point where we started to think they were doing it on purpose.

Whatever loungers we appropriated on any given day, we would come out the following day to find they were in that spot.

Now, I'm not saying we owned the loungers, far from it. They got them fair and square.

But we kept having to move to a completely different set of loungers each day because of them . . . only to find them in those loungers the next day. It was like they saw the loungers we were in, thought they looked good . . . and would choose them the next day. Then be jealous of our alternative loungers so choose them the next day . . . . forcing us to move again.

Even more galling, the third time this happened, one of the woman moved her lounger so that it was actually practically in the pool, forcing us to have to have to walk really carefully around her to get to the bar so we didn't fall in the pool! I was very tempted to pour some wine on her "by accident" . . . but I would have hated to downsize on my vino blanco fix because of her.

It genuinely did feel like they were purposely trying to wind us up.

After we were on to them, we decided to defeat them by going out earlier than them. So we went out and re-appropriated the loungers they'd beat us to the following day. Ha!!! They were forced to go and sit elsewhere for the day. Or so we thought...

That day it was really hot so we decided to pop over for a drink inside the bar, and had a couple of games of pool while we were over there. I glanced over and the women appeared to have gone . . . but when we got back to our loungers I discovered it was because they'd decided to move their loungers to right behind us! There was no reason for it, the sun was still hitting every single spot around the pool. Why do it if not to just be pains in the arse?

Okay, okay . . . I know I'm being a total drama queen about this, but we were on holiday and the whole set-up was very relaxed, so maybe I just needed a wee bit of drama in my life so I invented it! That being said, the boyfriend completely agrees with me on this, and he's pretty sensible, so maybe I'm completely justified in being annoyed about this. :-)

I have to admit to a TEENY bit of satisfaction on our last day when there was only a tiny bit of sunshine in the morning before it went dull and rainy, and they missed that hour window. Seeing them sitting in the pool bar with their faces tripping them cheered me up a tiny bit. Oh god, I'm such a mean person!

Anyhoo, when it comes to sunloungers on holiday, I have a couple of rules to live by.

1) I have no problem with you bagging a lounger in advance. But PLEASE make sure you're actually planning to use it shortly after bagging it. I have a MASSIVE problem with you if you stick your towels over the best loungers at 8am and then go back to bed until midday.
2) It's okay to leave your lounger and go for a wee bite to eat in the pool bar, or nip back to your room for ten minutes to cool down. But, once again, if you've decided you're actually going to go for a big lunch elsewhere or a boat trip or to lie on the beach for a bit instead cos you're bored . . . take the bloody towel with you and free up the lounger for someone else.

So I guess my basic rule is only leave your towel on the lounger if you're planning to be on said lounger for most of the day.

And I guess my other rule is don't piss me off. Unfortunately I can't 100% advise you on how to do this, because people continue to come up with new and inventive ways to piss me off. But follow the other rules above and you'll be a lot safer from my wrath! ;-)

Oh, and please feel free to share any sunlounger-based drama you have experienced. I do love a bit of drama (in case that wasn't obvious!). . .

Sunday, 22 May 2016

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT CORFU . . .

I've been a big fan of the Greek Islands for years but over the last few years Corfu has became a firm favourite . . . So much so that I've just returned from a week holiday there for the third year in a row!

So this is where I'm going to tell you why I go to Corfu . . . And why YOU should consider going too!



1. Holidays are cheap
Compared to Spain or Spanish islands, booking a holiday to a Greek island tends to be far more reasonably priced  (at least it does from Glasgow!) and Corfu is consistently one of the cheapest. Please note though that a low price does not spell out bad quality when it comes to this beautiful island!


2. It's a short flight
Some of the Greek Islands  (Rhodes for example) are a five plus hour flight from the UK. As Corfu is actually situated slightly north west of Greece and actually more in line with Albania it is only a 3 and a half hour flight from Glasgow if you are (like myself) not a great flyer. Ideal!


3. Great weather

Beautiful weather - you can find the apartments here!

I've always went in May where admittedly the weather can be a bit changeable still at times... but I've never had less than five lovely days in a week and those days, although seeming to be in the late teens, low twenties according to the weather forecast, have a real feel of far higher temperatures. That being said, it's never felt overly humid... which is a great thing!


4. The food
Oh my God, the food itself is enough to make me immediately want to return. Baked feta is the absolute bomb (boyfriend bought two packs of feta in Tesco as soon as we got home so we could recreate that dish asap!); or how about sausage stuffed with feta and garlic? Sausage in a spicy tomato sauce? Moussaka? Kleftiko? Sofrito? Cheese pies? I could go on. (But I'll stop. And just refer you to a selection of some of the delicious meals I sampled this year in the below pic.)


If you're not into Greek food there are plenty of other cuisine options on offer and even the traditional Greek places tend to offer non-Greek options... but as far as I'm concerned the Greek options were by far the best! If you are in Sidari I would recommend The Three Little Pigs, El Greco or Ocean Taverna for delicious meals. You're welcome!


5. Friendly people
The people in Corfu are so friendly and will do their best to make you feel at home. You're warmly greeted when you enter a restaurant, they'll go out of their way to make conversation with you and often will even shake your hand when you leave! Occasionally you might even be provided with a little shot of kumquat liqueur with the bill (if you're really lucky!). You don't get that happening much back at home. Nor do you pop into a shop for wine for the apartment and find yourself having a twenty minute conversation with the shop owners about Brexit! And if you don't speak Greek don't worry - no one expects you to be able to. Phew! Yamas! (Feel free to learn more words if you want - unfortunately that's the only one I know - it's "cheers" by the way!)


6. Varied types of holiday available
Corfu has many different resorts so can cater to all. You have Kavos for the clubber type holidays  (well I'm assuming here as I've never been there but I have had the dubious pleasure of seeing a couple of episodes of "What Happens in Kavos"...), you have tiny quiet resorts if you want to get away from it all (if you do, I would highly recommend Kalami, which is teeny but stunning) . . . And Sidari, where I've stayed the past two years, has a lovely mix of quiet and busy, traditional and modern. You can stay in apartments that seem remote and set in countryside but the actual hustle and bustle of the main strip of Sidari is a mere ten minute walk away so you can literally have the best of both. Ideal!


7. Fantastic scenery

Posing at the Canal d'Amour
Pop up to the Canal d'Amour (or remains of it anyway) in Sidari, or get a more traditional vibe in Corfu town, taking in the culture and shops. There is plenty to see and do if you're not a beach person. When we stayed in Kalami two years ago we hired a boat and sailed up and down the coast a bit which is a great way of seeing more of Corfu. You also get some stunning sunsets over both Corfu and neighbouring Albania.

Corfu town

Sunset pic courtesy of the fella


8. The prices
All that wonderful food I mentioned? Ridiculously cheap. Once again, the quality does not suffer.  You'd never get these dishes at home for such reasonable prices! The alcohol is also very cheap both in restaurants/bars and if you're just looking to buy a bottle or two for your apartment/as a holiday gift.


So . . . what are you waiting for? Get that holiday booked, stat!

Oh, and take me with you? Please???


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

SIGNS YOU ARE STILL A "FRIENDS" ADDICT . . .

"How many blog posts can one girl write about a TV show that hasn't actually had a new episode for twelve years?" I hear you ask. A few, is my answer. Perhaps this will even be my last, but I wouldn't count on it.


So today I'm going to identify vital signs to show you are still a "Friends" addict. Fairly sure I'm more-than-qualified to write this!
  • You have watched every episode at least twenty times. Probably far more than that. To be fair,you lost count a long time ago.
  • You continue to watch it on Comedy Central every opportunity you can. Even though you own most, if not all, of it on DVD.
  • You can remember the last time you saw an episode for the first time and the one it was. (For me, the one where Emily was first introduced. In 2008 when my friend loaned me the series 4 boxset.)
  • And you can't understand how you possibly missed an episode of it for that long!
  • You frequently quote from it. (My personal favourite "It's a moo point. It's like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's moo." can surprisingly be inserted into a lot of conversations.)
  • You notice the inconsistencies. Like Ross having more than one birthday for example. And you judge the writers for failing to notice such an oversight.
  • You can actually find a Friends reference for pretty much anything that happens to you or someone else in real life.
  • You have a friend who says "I really wish I understood your Friends reference because it seems to mean so much to you . . . but I don't think I've seen that episode" and they clearly feel bad about it as they know how much it means to you.
  • When you meet someone who likes "Friends" as much as you it's like you have met your soulmate and you never want to let them go!
  • It doesn't matter how many other films and TV programmes you have watched the cast members in . . . they will always be Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe to you.
And last but not least?
  • You write a blog post outlining the signs of still being a "Friends" addict. Er . . . guilty?!?

Have I missed anything? Are you still a fan? Feel free to share!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

P'S TOP PICKS: FAVOURITE BLOGGERS . . .

Now I've mentioned before that, having had this wee blog for over 8 years, I've found that many of the blogs I read back in the day haven't had new content in a long time. Luckily, after doing a bit of research on Twitter, which mainly involved stalking the #lbloggers and #thegirlgang hashtags and clicking on any links that took my fancy, I have started to build up a new base of blogs I like to read along with some of my existing favourites who happily stuck around. So I thought now is the time to share my top picks!


Corinne from skinnedcartree.com posts every single day - I not only find this uber-impressive, but it also means I always have something new to read from her when I log into bloglovin. (Result!) Her content is always fresh and entertaining and she gives some great blogging advice. Definitely worth checking out!

Now I might seem a little biased about this one as I consider Dawn from The Thing About Chaos one of my besties . . . but trust me, her blog is fab and she is as hilarious as she is honest. And her food posts always make me really hungry. (Not sure if that is a good thing though. :-/)

I've brought this girl up before, but I'm going to mention her again - if you aren't already reading Vix Meldrew you need to stop what you're doing and click through right now. I always know I'm guaranteed an entertaining read when a new post from her pops up in my feed.

If you're looking for an entertaining blog about great things to see in Scotland (and who isn't? Scotland is the best place in the world after all!), I'd like to direct you to another good friend of mine, Kate, and her blog Love From Scotland.  You'll find tons of ideas for Scotland travel there and Kate's love of Scotland clearly shines through.

Mayor Gia is a blog I've been following for quite a few years now. She's funny and I love her illustrated posts and her interactions with her boyfriend. Enough said.

Scarlet Wonderland - great writing and great content. And I never know what to expect!

Jemma aka Dorkface probably has one of the cutest and most aesthetically-pleasing blogs of all of the blogs that I read. She also writes some great posts (it's not all about looks after all) and is the leader of #TheGirlGang which is a great wee community. (More info on that can be found here.)

And last but not least . . . because I love a good throwback and I hate the idea that anyone might have missed out on this fabulous blog, despite the fact there has not been a post in a long time from her . . . you should check out Hyperbole and a Half's archive. Some brilliant stuff there - great insight into depression and a hilarious story about how Kenny Loggins (of all people) ruined Christmas.

Who are your favourite bloggers?

Monday, 9 May 2016

BETTER CONNECTED . . .

Once upon a time, we lived in a world without the internet.

I know, I know. It was a cold lonely place and I try not to think about it too much, but we did. And we survived fine without it. Although it seems unthinkable now.


Growing up in the eighties and nineties, I didn't even have the internet in school. It was only when I moved to uni in '97 that I discovered the awesomeness that was the worldwide web. And back then businesses having their own websites were few and far between, whereas today it's the ones without internet that are far from the norm!

I became addicted to the internet very quickly and while others around me in the computer labs were frantically trying to produce essays to a deadline, I'd be on the chat rooms wasting away many hours with complete strangers. This was before social media was even a popular thing, back when Friends Reunited were still trying to charge you a fiver if you wanted to find out what anyone from your school was actually doing with their lives.

Wow, I feel like I'm typing in a foreign language since what we have now is so far removed from that.

Nowadays we have our smartphones and a world of information literally at our fingertips. No longer do you have to wonder how many kids Sally from school has. Or if you're watching a tv programme and you can't place the hot lead guy in it, you can actually just google him rather than wreck your head for the next few days trying to work out what TV programme he used to be the geeky kid in ten years ago. You can even cheat in a pub quiz. (Although you shouldn't, and if you do, I judge you pretty hard. Cheating is not cool, folks!)

But here's what annoys me. I don't know about other countries, but there are so many places in Scotland where you can't get any internet whatsoever. So you're driving about Scotland, taking awesome pictures, desperate to post them on Instagram . . . and you can't because there's no bloody 4G for miles around! You have some pithy observation you want to tweet but it just keeps flashing up saying "posting... posting... posting" and eventually just fails. Or lets you think it's failed and then it ends up posting twice, it's just you didn't know that cos of the shitty signal!

Last October I was in Fuerteventura, and one day we went over to one of my favourite places - a little uninhabited island called Lobos. I remember standing on the dock waiting for the boat back . . . and tweeting my shock that I had a better internet signal on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Atlantic than I did in most parts of Scotland!

I know people say you should switch off from the internet and social media for once in a while... but personally I find little more frustrating than not having the option to get on the internet if you want it. We stayed in a hotel at the weekend where my 4G was very weak and the hotel wi-fi was sporadic at best . . . and as I pointed out to the boyfriend, this is actually a worse situation than having either great wi-fi or no wi-fi whatsoever. If you have no wi-fi, you just don't even bother trying to access the internet. If you have decent wi-fi you'll actually go on less (in theory) because you know you have it at any time.

Half-assed wi-fi is the worst, because you spend more time trying to see if your tweet sent, your picture eventually posted on Insta, or (in this case, because the TV remote wasn't working) trying and failing to find out if there's anything on the telly you actually want to watch. And moaning about how rubbish the connection is.

(I'm looking back at the last few paragraphs and thinking "why do you keep saying 'wi-fi'? Stop it!")

So anyway . . . what's my point? Um . . . wait, I know!

Once upon a time I could survive without the internet. But now . . . I cannot. I need the internet to be there and accessible to me at all times whenever possible.

Please don't deny me my internet rights!!!

Can you survive without the internet?

Friday, 6 May 2016

HAVE I GOT MY SHIT TOGETHER YET???

So a couple of days before 2015 morphed into 2016, I made a few resolutions here on the blog.  I thought it might be time to check in on them several months on to see if I'd actually managed to stick to any of them.

Let's get going!


1) Cook more
I reckon I've done pretty well so far on this one. A look at my Instagram feed will back that up(feel free to check it out here - gotta love a bit of shameless self promotion, amIright?) - there's been copious amounts of chilli, curry, Italian food, Mexican inspired meals . . . I even made a delicious cashew butter fudge (yes, you heard. Cashew butter fudge!) in the early days of 2016 which I really need to make again just so I can share the recipe with you lovely folk. And also because it was really yummy and I really want to stuff my face with it again.

Verdict: Making Progress. Keep up the good work! (And STEP AWAY FROM THE FUDGE!)

2) Exercise more
This has just not been my year in terms of exercise. I had all the best of intentions, but it quickly fell by the wayside. It just seemed more fun after a long day of work to come home and sit on my arse and watch episodes of "Friends" and drink wine. I can't believe it's already May, I'm going on holiday in a week's time and actually feeling worse about my body than I was at the start of the year. That was not my intention at all!

Verdict: Major fail. Must do better. Must do something!

3) See even more of Scotland
The trips I mentioned in that previous post have been completed. Tarbert in February was lovely, and we finally hopped on board the Strathspey Railway last month and thoroughly enjoyed a night in Aviemore.  There was an overnight in Fort William, taking in the snow in Glen Coe. And many mini road trips. I have my list of places I want to visit, and I want to tick off a couple of those this year still. Fingers crossed!

Verdict: Doing well so far.

4) Blog more
Probably my greatest success so far. I have been blogging a couple of times a week for the most part and I'm more enthusiastic about the content I have been producing and ideas I've been coming up with for a long time. Getting more involved with the blogger side of twitter has definitely helped with this, and I'll be posting about this very soon as this has made such a massive difference to me. I'm starting to get more views again and more comments and I actually am so excited every time I come up with a new idea for a post. Blogging is fun again for me, and this is something I am so happy about.

Verdict: Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Fine holiday fun. (Totally bonus points for you if you get that reference.)

5) Save more money
I have like 250 pounds in my savings now. I'm probably going to end up having to use loads of it as I'm pretty skint again and it's still a week until payday . . .

Verdict: Ah well, you can't win them all. And the old adage "saving for a rainy day" is a moot point in Glasgow...

All in all, I reckon I've actually done okay. Just need to get up off my arse a bit more and stop throwing my money away on wine and eating out. Hmmm... maybe those should have been my resolutions?

Who am I kidding?!? I wouldn't have lasted a week with those ones . . .

How are YOUR resolutions going for 2016???

Thursday, 5 May 2016

POLL POSITION . . .

So today is the Scottish elections and I got out bright and early this morning prior to work to put my votes in.

Voting is one of those things that makes me feel anxious. Here's why . . .



It makes me nervous
It's just such a serious process, because you know it means something (no matter how many people think it doesn't). It makes me feel like I'm under exam conditions and I always come out of the polling station wondering if I actually voted for who I intended to vote for. (Today I made extra sure I did so for once I actually know I definitely did. But I was still nervous.) One of the reasons I make sure I go in the morning, as early as I can, before work, is so I can make sure it's out of the way and I'm not thinking about it all day. (I don't really trust postal votes, so this isn't really an option for me).

Finding where you need to vote in the polling station
Even with lists of which table to go to or even someone directing me directly to the table, I am always worried that I am going to somehow end up at the wrong one, 

The fear that I am actually not registered to vote
Despite, y'know, holding the polling card in my hand. :-/

The gauntlet of canvassers outside
I know how I'm voting - I don't need an armful of leaflets from all the other parties when I'm actually headed into the polling station itself to make my actual vote (and I am too busy worrying about whether I'll get lost trying to find where I need to vote or whether I'm actually registered or not to feign politeness).

That I won't fold my ballot paper properly or something equally ridiculous
A lot of my anxieties about voting are pretty irrational and this is one of them. But it's still valid. For example, today one of the ballot papers was much bigger than the other one. I folded them both over once as normal and then when I got to the ballot boxes realised the big one was still too big to fit in the box and was standing next to it folding it up extra feeling the eyes of the staff on me, feeling like an idiot.

That who I voted for won't win
This is probably the biggest anxiety. But, let's face it, not everyone can win. And at least I've voted. Because everyone knows you are only allowed to complain about the result if you've actually made sure your voice was heard.

And that's why I force myself to vote despite my irrational worries!

Am I alone in this?

Saturday, 30 April 2016

WELCOME TO MOLLY-LAND!


This is Molly. Also known to us as "Mols", "Mollster", "Mollykins" and "Mollylicious".

She's my sister's cat, so technically - technically - she's my niece. Isn't she lovely?

Me and the fella have been at my sister's flat for the past few days, catsitting, while my sister and brother in law are in Spain. Lovely though she is though, there are a couple of disadvantages to it.

I feel like I get nothing done when she's around

I know cats are meant to be independent but I feel like I spend most of my time in the flat trying to entertain her or watch her to decide whether she wants entertaining. In the  few days I've been here I've gotten behind in blogging, reading blogs, even tweeting. And when I exercise, she appears next to me and watches me like I'm absolutely mental so I end up feeling self-conscious and stopping. Shamed by a cat - shame on me!

I'm a bit allergic to her

I probably am allergic to cats and didn't realise sooner as I've never had a pet and, until Molly appeared in my life, never had extended periods of access to one. But around her I get runny eyes, runny nose, a wheezy cough . . . and the closer I get to her, the worse the symptoms are. Which is a shame because I absolutely love her and want to give her cat snuggles. (Yes. I went there. I said "cat snuggles". Don't start me.) She's the only reason I've ever had need to take anti-histamines!

Feeding guilt

I have instructions about how much to feed her and that's fine . . . . it's good to have guidance about these things. But the packs of food are so small and I just feel like she must be starving all the time. Last night I went straight out after work and felt so guilty when we didn't get home until after ten - she'd not had a feed since half eight. She seemed fine with it . . . but I wasn't. And when she starts staring at her bowl and then purring beseechingly at me I just feel like my heart is breaking for her.

Changing the litter

I don't think I even need to go into this one in any detail. Thankfully we've only had to do that once so far.

Vanishing acts

Molly isn't an outdoor cat, which is a good thing . . . because I sometimes lose her in this two bedroom flat. More often that not, if I can't find her, she's either on top of the wardrobe, or in her little den (which is under a sheet on top of the sister's exercise bike). But there's so many nooks and crannies she could potentially be in that sometimes it can take me a while to find her! And this leads me on to my next point . . .

Morning woes

When I wake up in the morning, I don't know where she is. If you don't leave the bedroom door open, apparently she used to cry outside it, so we don't risk that. So I don't know where she is . . .  and I hate that, because it freaks me out a bit. The other morning I peeked out from under the cover and she was just sitting next to me on the bed STARING at me - I nearly jumped out of my skin! Plus she then winds her way between my legs as I try to get to the kitchen to get her food . . . does she want to kill me before I can feed her or what???


But despite all this she is bloody adorable and I love her to bits. Pets are pretty damn awesome. <3 p="">

Thursday, 28 April 2016

EVEN *MORE* REASONS WHY I FEEL I'M FAILING AT BEING A "GIRLY GIRL" . . .

So after my post last week about reasons why I fail I'm failing at being a "girly girl", I immediately (of course!) thought of a few more. Damn, blast and blow, I thought, what is a girl to do?

Why, make a part two of course!

So let's do this!


High heels

This is something I've spoken about before - I cannot walk in high heels at all. I frequently fall off them and/or end up with sore shaky legs, plus I look like Bambi on rollerblades. I spent most of six seasons of Sex and the City marvelling at how Carrie Bradshaw could actually not only walk, but RUN, in most of her skyscraper designer shoes! Probably my lack of talent at walking in stilt shoes is also one of the reasons why I don't really get very excited about buying shoes and I virtually live in Primark ballet pumps. Even on nights out if I can get away with it I'll opt for flat or flat(ish) shoes despite only being 5 foot 3.And I own about three pairs of high heels. So I definitely don't feel like a girly girl in this respect!

Contouring

I just don't *get* it . . . how does it even work that you splodge several ridiculous colours in certain bits of your face and it somehow all miraculously BLENDS together AND makes you look like a different person? I doubt I'll ever understand it. I've tried strobing cos that seems a tad easier . . . but I'm pretty sure I can't do that right either.

Beauty appointments

These are right up there with hairdresser appointments for me. I'm probably the only person who has come out of a massage more stressed and/or tense than I started. Why is this stranger touching me? WHEN WILL IT END???

Cocktails

Cocktails always seem like a really girly thing - but if I'm out and everyone else is drooling over the cocktail menu . . . I'm usually looking at the wine list for a large glass of their finest white wine (well, when I say "finest" I usually mean less than seven quid). To me cocktails are expensive for what they are, and usually taste like juice so I end up knocking them back. I just don't see the appeal 95% of the time.  I'm not a massive fan of cocktail making classes either . . . if I AM going to have a cocktail I want it made by the expert, not by my amateurish hands!

Designer Handbags

I seem to be missing whatever gene makes people crave designer handbags. If a Primark bag looked nice, I'd probably use it all the time. I like the feel of slightly more expensive bags, but when I say "slightly more expensive" I mean one from Oasis or Warehouse. I don't think I would ever buy a bag worth say 500 pounds because I'd be thinking "I can get 10 fifty pound bags for that". Or, more likely for me, "I can get one fifty pound bag and 100 cheap bottles of wine. . . " (I'm just hoping my mental arithmetic is right there!)


So . . . there you go . . .  even more reasons why I feel I'm failing at being a "girly girl". Any more?