Thursday, 16 October 2014

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL: THE FALLS OF DOCHART . . .



I think I've already mentioned me and the boyfriend's love of waterfalls . . . pretty much every Scottish trip we go on we try to find one! The Falls of Dochart is a particular nice one  - it's not a high dramatic fall like some we have visited . . . but it's very long and pretty and you can kind of climb about in it to some extent, like a playground full of rocks and cascading water! (Disclaimer: it's not really a playground and if you DO choose to climb around in it, be careful!)

These first pictures were taken in around March, where it was still very cold...





 These next two were taken on a more recent trip, about a month or so ago, where it was a tad warmer . . . as in, I wasn't quite wrapped up as much!!!

The Falls of Dochart run through the pretty little village of Killin and I would definitely recommend as visit if you are a fan of water/nature/waterfalls/all of the above. Visit http://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/falls-of-dochart-p662781 for more information... and let me know if you've been before or are planning on going anytime soon!!!

 
What's YOUR favourite waterfall???

Sunday, 14 September 2014

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL . . . LOCH SKEEN!

Scotland is awesome and it's time to show you more of it! The other week I showed you Puck's Glen, near Dunoon - next up is the place I visited the very next day . . . Loch Skeen.

Now, getting to the loch wasn't the easiest as it basically is in the middle of a bunch of hills . . . we had to walk up the side of a waterfall to get to it. And it wasn't the easiest of walks, especially because the path was narrow, and steep at times, and also there were a couple of times when the drop was pretty sheer . . . and I'm not the best with heights. But it was worth the view when we got up there finally!

Loch Skeen feeds into a waterfall called Gray Mare's Tail, which is situated near Moffat in Dumfrieshire. We had visited Gray Mare's Tail once before but the weather had been shite and we had taken the other path, which was cut off to the public after a certain point as it was dangerous. We had determined to come back to do the other path the next time we had enough time to do so and the weather was okay.

When we finally rounded a corner and the loch opened up in front of us, it was breathtaking. If a little boggy. Which I learned after I stepped right in a particularly boggy bit and nearly lost a shoe!











 We met some sheep on the way back down, although they kept their distance...
 Me, with Gray Mare's Tail in the background . . .
 This sheep actually stopped and posed for a picture!
View from up high.... terrifying!!!

I would definitely recommend this walk - it is definitely worth it for the view. You can find out more information here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/galloway/grey-mares-tail.shtml

Thursday, 11 September 2014

THE ONE WHERE I TAKE THE PISS OUT OF THE PATRONISING BT LADY . . .

You may or may not know that a week today we're having a little vote in Scotland... well, actually it's a pretty big vote on whether we vote yes or not for an independent Scotland or not. I'm not going to assume any other country necessarily cares though - that would be arrogant of me to do so. The nation has been pretty divided on the whole thing though. Personally, I'm planning to vote yes, but I don't believe in forcing my beliefs down other people's throats. It's up to everyone to make their own decision.

But I digress. Something which was a major talking point a couple of weeks back was the patronising, condescending, chauvinistic "No" advert that Better Together brought out. "The woman who made up her mind." Did you see it, or hear of it? It had people on both sides a bit appalled.  It was so awful that it spurned an entire hashtag on Twitter devoted to the "Patronising BT Lady" as she was so dubbed. Watch it here if you want.

Anyway, various piss-takes and spoofs have been flying about in among the backlash. This was my favourite:




And the other night, I decided on a whim (a bit of a tipsy whim, admittedly) to make up my own piss-take, using my own favourite subject - wine!!! Hope you enjoy...





Did you see the Better Together advert featuring the patronising BT lady? What did you think about it?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

THE ONE WHERE I'M HOPKIN' MAD . . .


"So Katie Hopkins has put on three Stone just to prove how easy it is to lose it again? What a fucking idiot. At least she won't need to turn to laxatives... so much shite comes out her mouth she'll probably lose all the weight in a week!" - me, last night

So Katie Hopkins is at it again.

And this time, the professional rent-a-gob is having a go at overweight people.

Fantastic, right? In her latest project, she has DELIBERATELY put on over three stone just so she can prove 1) how easy it is to lose weight and 2) claim that people who can't lose weight are just making excuses.

What a saint this woman is, right? How very good of her to teach us how to lose weight! Let's forget about those people who actually do  have conditions which make it hard for them to lose weight. Let's shame everyone struggling to lose weight just so she can get another fifteen minutes of fame on top of the half hour or so she already didn't deserve.

The quote at the top of this post was my status update on Facebook last night. In 24 hours, 48 people have liked this status update. Much as I'd like to think otherwise, I think all these likes were less to do with my rapier-like wit, and more to do with a mutual hatred of Katie Hopkins.

Why do we keep giving this woman a platform to spew her bile? Is it because we all really need someone to focus our hatred on? Why else do people keep inviting her on shows to say something destined to rile at least half the nation? Why am I maliciously hoping she fails spectacularly in her plan to lose all of this weight again in the same amount of time she put it on, so she has to eat her holier-than-thou words (thank goodness words are calorie-free, right?)? What shite is she going to come out with next?

And why am I even wasting this rant on her???


What do you think of Katie Hopkins, and this latest project???


PS I'm over on Dawniepopsies blog today talking all about one of my favourite subjects... food. And maybe wine too. Go check it out here.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL . . . PUCK'S GLEN!

I've been getting out and about in Scotland a bit recently. I've always been a city girl, by way of a big town, but being in the country, in the middle of hills and glens and surrounded by snow-topped mountains has become something I'm increasingly loving. Because Scotland is so damn beautiful, it really is.

And so I think it's about time I showed you some of it!

First up, let's head to a place I visited last Saturday - this is Puck's Glen, which is near Dunoon. We got the car ferry over (it's not an island, you can drive there but it just takes a bit longer - we drove back), and drove the few miles to Puck's Glen.

 It was a tiny bit magical, like being in an enchanted forest or something like that.


I immediately fell in love. It was so peaceful apart from the noise of the falls. And the occasional other person, of course. (Because you can NEVER escape people in my world.)


The path we chose to take took us past various small waterfalls and through pretty woodland.


And there were some steeper bits too, of course! Although mostly very safe. :-) (When I get to my Loch Skeen post you'll see what I mean!)



After walking past the waterfalls we ended up on higher ground, still surrounded by trees though. Part of me just wanted to head back the way we'd came though, it was just so pretty down there.

If you like waterfalls and pretty scenery, I would definitely recommend a trip to Puck's Glen... Further information can be found here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/argyll/pucks-glen.shtml

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

PAULA'S STAGES OF DIETING . . .

As you all probably know about me, I am a bit of an enthusiastic "dieter". Well, sort of.

Here is the constant cycle I go through. I'm sure some of you can identify . . .

1. LET'S START A NEW DIET!!!
Diet means healthy (disclaimer: I know it does not necessarily mean this). Healthy means good. Good means acquiring the abs of Britney Spears when she's not mainlining junk food and the bum cheeks of Kylie Minogue in the "Spinning Around" era. Yes. I am going to do this. I am I am I am.

2. THE PLANNING STAGE
This is the bit I love the most. I love the internet, I love googling the different types of diet going, what the best way to exercise and lose the most weight is this week . . . I love looking at Instagram for inspiration. I like reading diet and fitness magazines. I especially like to do all of the planning while enjoying a bottle of wine and some pizza. And maybe some chocolate too while I'm at it. Because I'm OBVIOUSLY not going to be allowed any of these once I hit Dietsville.

3. EATING ALL THE BAD STUFF
This follows on logically from step 2. The bad stuff has got to go before I start the diet. It's got to go . . . in my stomach. Of course.

4. DAY 1
It all starts so well . . .I'm totally prepared and eager to get started. My breakfast has been made the night before, I chop up salad ingredients for lunch in the morning, I've allowed myself extra time to get the food prepared, if I'm REALLY organised I've even updated the calorie intake for breakfast and lunch into My Fitness Pal before I actually EAT anything. I'm good to go for the day.

5. THE FIRST HURDLE
Of course, my first day of a diet will almost always coincide with a colleague bringing in some sort of amazing home-made treat, or my favourite type of sweet in the world ever (I swear it's a conspiracy). It will also usually coincide with me having either an a) incredibly stressful day or b) an incredibly boring day both of which will make me want to eat junk. It also usually coincides with the unexpected arrival of my period. If I resist this treat, it's a miracle. If I give in, it's an early exit straight back to stage one to start planning (and eating junk) all over again in preparation of the next attempt. On the first day of my diet though, I'm generally pretty good. I'm feeling motivated. I'm thinking "this time I'm going to make it work", that I'm going to make my gym bunny sister jealous of MY stomach muscles instead of the other way around . . . I can beat the temptation. Go me. I AM STRONG!!!

6. HOMETIME
Off I go home, all ready to make a healthy meal. Two hours later I have dirtied pretty much every dish in my kitchen, and am actually so tired I can barely be bothered to EAT whatever healthy "mush" I have spent my leisure time creating. And why is my newly-emptied bin already full? Why does healthy eating involve so many dishes and so much RUBBISH???

7.BEDTIME
I must have a treat before I go to bed. Even if I've managed to stay good all day, I always need something at night, it's like rewarding myself for being good all day! (You KNOW it makes sense.) I try and force myself not to overdo it though. I congratulate myself for being good and go to bed. Where I can't sleep properly because my stomach won't stop growling at me.

8. REPEAT STEPS 4 TO SEVEN ON A DAILY BASIS UNTIL . . .
I step on the scale and realise I've lost no weight yet. (This is usually day 4 maximum and, yes, I know I have massively unrealistic expectations). Also realise I have no clean dishes or Tupperware left and therefore I should have chips and cheese for lunch followed by whatever treat is in work that day, followed by a pizza for dinner and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. Or two. Weigh myself the next day with trepidation only to discover I've actually lost two pounds since the day before. Decide dieting is silly and I should just stick to everything in moderation. Which obviously means eat EVERYTHING ALWAYS. Put weight back on, feel depressed and decide "Oooh, I know, I should go on a diet! What diet should I go on? What exercise should I do? Oooh, let's get planning.... where's that cava???"

9. REPEAT STEPS 1 TO 8 . . . OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Ah, fuck it. There's wine in the fridge. . . ;-)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

MORE MCSHABBY THAN MCPHABBY...

I rarely complain about bad service. Even when it is REALLY bad. I'm not the confrontational type. I don't like to cause a scene.

But this time, I can't hold my peace, because what I was subjected to last night was ludicrous.

I've been a fan of the pub McPhabbs for years. We used to nip up for lunch on a Friday regularly years back, and I would occasionally be there for a night out and I always loved it. But I don't think I've been there for a good couple of years. Anyway, it was me and the boyfriend's 9 month anniversary last night, and we decided to go for dinner there after a couple of drinks at a work leaving night.

I was really looking forward to it. The menu had changed since I'd been last and I already had planned what I was going to have for my starter and main by the time my boyfriend booked it through a restaurant booking website. Mushrooms to start, and then the mac and cheese and chips. I was even talking about how much I was looking forward to the meal as we walked up there just before seven. Anyways . . .

I'd also had a pretty shitty and stressful week, working eight plus hour days from Tuesday to Thursday, and had been in work in 8am on Friday, so this gave me an extra big reason to look forward to dinner. It was booked for 7pm and I only came out of a last-minute meeting at 4.15ish so we headed up to the leaving night in Rockus and were there for about quarter to five.

Three drinks later, it was about quarter to seven, so we left Rockus to head for dinner. Now, some of you readers know me in real life and you know this: three drinks does not make me drunk. Three drinks in and I'm pretty much the same I am sober. This is not a boast. If anything, it is a little frustrating that I am not a cheap date. So when I left Rockus, I was in the same state that I had arrived in. Remember this for later.

So we got to McPhabbs, and were lead to the reserved table. A different dude came up to serve us. We had a free drink with our two course dinner deal, but the boyfriend had asked if we could possibly upgrade this to a bottle and pay for the extra. This was swiftly (and not politely) rebuffed. That would have been fair enough though. I think both of us would have understood that.

What happened next is actually one of the most appalling and humiliating acts of bad customer service I have ever been party to.

This guy then starts interrogating me as to how many drinks I have had. At this point, I think the only thing I've probably said is what colour of wine I want. I said three, wondering immediately why I'm being treated like it's midnight and I'm in the queue at the Garage trying to get my story straight. He informs me I am SLURRING MY WORDS and that I can have my drink as part of the deal but that's it. As far as he's concerned, that's it. He then stalks off self-righteously.

I already felt humiliated and spoken-down to. I am 34 years old and have NEVER been spoken to like that in a place where I am (or would have been) a paying customer. I think the fact that I was quite patently NOT drunk added to the humiliation - had I been drunk I would have probably just have meekly accepted the fact that I was drunk and taken that last drink and ate dinner. However, I felt really upset and embarrassed that I was being picked on for no reason . . . so when the boyfriend suggested we left, I agreed. So we left. I got about ten steps away and then my anger kicked in. I decided to go back but my boyfriend had the same anger creeping in so he went instead. Which makes sense. I am so bad at confrontation and I was so angry and upset that I was shaking and on the verge of tears... I would not have been able to provide a coherent argument.

So the boyfriend went back and spoke to the guy... but to no avail. I obviously was not party to the conversation... but it seems like my boyfriend was speaking to a rude brick wall. He came back even more annoyed, we decided to go elsewhere and booked a table at Roastit Bubbly Jocks in Dumbarton Road instead. Lovely food, and I was permitted wine without any arsy-ness. Result!

I still remain angry though... let me re-iterate the points.

I had THREE drinks beforehand. I wasn't drunk. I was there for DINNER. I actually didn't even mind that much about the alcohol, but I resent being spoken to like I'm either an alcoholic or a child. The man's customer service was appalling. You do not speak to customers like that. I was not making any sort of scene either. And someone pointed out to me on twitter today, some people have conditions which mean they DO slur their words. So to humiliate me on THAT basis (if anything this now makes me paranoid I have a speech impediment I was not previously aware of) is actually borderline discrimination.

McPhabbs was a place I really liked, which I had fond memories of. However, it has now been tainted for me. There are plenty of amazing places in Glasgow, with amazing food and amazing customer service, and the service we were shown for that five minutes we were in there last night was completely below par. I won't be back there.

I've been compiling a post about good places to go for food in Glasgow which should be up in the next few days. This will NOT be making the cut. Well done!

UPDATE. After I posted this, a fellow blogger re-tweeted my link to it, copying in McPhabbs. They contacted me directly to ask for further information but, a month on, I still haven't heard anything further.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

CORFU IN PICTURES . . .

Earlier last month I was on the Greek island of Corfu, in the beautiful peaceful little resort of Kalami. It was absolutely beautiful and I would thoroughly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance.

Here's a couple of fun facts about Corfu:

  • Despite its beauty, it tends to be one of the cheapest options when it comes to booking a holiday, at least from the UK. (Greek islands often are)
  • As it's closer to Albania than Greece, it's actually a ridiculously short flight from the UK, if you aren't a big fan of long flights like myself. It ended up being just over 3 hours which compared to nearer to five hours to the other Greek Islands I've been to, or to the Canary Islands, is pretty damn short.
  • The flight times are relatively normal compared to the other Greek islands I've been to. We had an early morning flight out and a lunchtime flight back. The last Greek island I visited was Zante back in 2010 and our late flighttimes drove me nuts . . . having to leave at six am on a Monday morning after having to check out of our room at midday the previous day was exhausting!
Anyway, whether you like it or not, here are some pictures from my trip. :-)



 
















Don't worry, if you're experiencing holiday envy with my pictures from Paris and now Corfu, there's no need to panic... this weekend I am visiting the far more exotic climes of BLACKPOOL, so the pictures may not be quite so pretty. You never know though... my phone camera IS pretty good. ;-)

Have you ever been to Corfu?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

GYM BUNNY BOX . . .

"Motivational confetti", for packing


I like a little project. Especially present-related ones. Especially when they let me do some colouring-in (Yes, I'm a big kid at heart.) So when I get a crafty present idea in my head I like to embrace it. I've made several friends scrapbooks in the past, and then of course who could forget the time I made a mix-tape CD for my boyfriend as a Valentine's gift?!? (I don't know how I'm ever going to better that gift, I really don't.)

So when my sister's birthday rolled around earlier this month, I decided to make her gift into a bit of a project too. She's really into the gym so I decided to make her a themed box of gym-related presents!

It took me a while to decide what presents to actually buy to put in the box, but I had a couple of ideas. The box ended up holding the following:

Cafepress top
  • Red padlock (I know, it sounds boring. I wanted to get her a really cool padlock for using at the gym lockers but apparently, there's no such thing! It's definitely an untapped market as far as I'm concerned. A plain bright red one had to suffice.) (Ebay is your best bet for these.)
  • A zebra print popband. (I'm a big fan of these hair accessories, and my sister is a big fan of animal print. Their customer service is also pretty spot-on - I didn't receive my delivery first time around and they sent me out a new package as soon as I let them know, no questions asked.)
  • A selection of protein bars. (These aren't cheap so I figured she'd appreciate this.)
  • Jillian Michael - Yoga Meltdown [DVD] yoga dvd. (She'd mentioned wanting to get a yoga dvd to help stretch her after her intense workouts. That being said, given that I know what Jillian's workouts can be like, it might just be more like torture.)
  • Red top for the gym. (Cafepress has some AWESOME inspirational tops for the gym bunny. I even used some of the slogans from the other tops to make the "motivational confetti" in the top pic for inside the box - I was bored during the football, okay???)
Obviously there are plenty of other things you could get for a gym bunny if you wanted to try something similar. Other ideas I had? Cute trainer socks, funky earphones, fitness magazines, a resistance band, yoga mat . . . the possibilities are pretty much endless. Once I had assembled all of my presents together, they went in a decorated shoe-box.



I also included a bottle of M&S Elderflower Liqueur, which is unrelated to the gym but I know she loves elderflower flavour and you can't ALWAYS be good, right?

I think she liked it.

Have you ever made a themed gift like this for someone? Would YOU be happy to receive a gym-themed present yourself? (I probably wouldn't be, personally, but I thought she would appreciate it.) Please feel free to share in the comments. :-)