Tuesday, 23 January 2018


It started snowing on and off between the Thursday night and Friday morning in Oban, but it was largely gone by the time we woke up. Skipping breakfast once again (so far we made breakfast on the Sunday only, despite breakfast being included in every hotel we had stayed in), we set off on our way.

Always time to be silly!!!

Our next destination was Crianalarich, edging closer back to Glasgow as it was our last full day on the road, so we had a bit of time to play with. We stopped off on the beach just to the north of Oban, with some lovely views of a snow-covered Mull and some silly selfie opportunities.

Looking over to Mull from Oban

Then we headed down towards the Slate Islands, since one is accessible via the Clachan Bridge, otherwise known as the Bridge Over The Atlantic. From the Isle of Seil you can access the other islands in the group by boat - one day we will do this!

Gorgeous views from the Isle of Seil

Eventually we arrived in Crianlarich where we were staying at the Ben More Lodge. We were staying in what was effectively a little chalet, with a bed, couch, tv and a little bathroom - it was so warm and cosy.
Crianlarich looked amazing in the snow

After having a wee walk around the snow covered area, we popped over to the pub there for dinner, a couple of drinks and some pool. As it was dog-friendly there were a couple of them kicking around, which I always love, and just as we were leaving some live traditional music was about to kick off. The food was really tasty too, and the price of both the accommodation and the food really reasonable. 100 per cent recommend.

Such beautiful scenery!

The next day the snow had picked up, much to the fella's delight, so after we got up and made it to breakfast (it had to happen again eventually!) we headed back towards Glen Coe to get a few snowier pictures than before!

Snowy scenes
Once we'd managed to capture the area in all its snowy beauty, we reluctantly began heading home towards reality, knowing we at least had one more day of the weekend before we had to return to our desk and PC and normality of office life. It really was such an amazing road trip. We spent too much money and drank and ate too much crap . . . but I feel like some amazing memories were made.

Glen Coe looking unbelievably dramatic!

I'd say I can't wait until the next road trip but we're literally just back from the next one. That being said, I still can't wait for the next one! And with not-yet-booked-but-upcoming trips to Ardfern, Torridon and Carnoustie coming up, it hopefully shouldn't be long before we're on the road again . . .

Sunday, 14 January 2018


I had to get back to it eventually, didn't I? Ridiculous that I'm still posting about a trip that happened nearly two months ago now but life always tends to get in the way!

What a view!!!

So we're on to Day 5 . . . and we woke up in the Isles of Glencoe Hotel to a gorgeous view! Unfortunately we were not the only ones who thought so and there were a bunch of photographers with tripods and everything blocking the view outside our window. Eventually we got the view to ourselves and it was worth the wait.
Loch Leven

Loch Linnhe
We skipped breakfast once again and then headed towards our next destination, the lovely town of Oban. We were booked to go to the distillery at four, so we had a couple of hours to spare before we needed to get ourselves checked in to the hotel. We snapped some pictures at Loch Leven and Linnhe first. Then we discovered Loch Creran, a new find for us, which really was lovely.
Loch Creran
In Oban, we checked into the Columba Hotel (which was the sister hotel of the one we stayed at in Dunoon) and then headed over to the distillery. Now, we've did this tour before and it's a good one - it only costs ten quid as well which is pretty reasonable. We enjoyed a couple of drams in the bar afterwards and I also had a whisky ginger cocktail which was absolutely delicious.

Afterwards we popped to Cuan Mor for dinner and had a little walk around the town before heading back to the hotel. Not a massively eventful day, perhaps, but it was a lovely day all the same. Lots of good pictures for the old Instagram too, which is never a waste of time. ;-)
Oban looking pretty in purple
Roll on day 6!

Thursday, 28 December 2017


I'm very much aware I haven't actually finished writing up my November Scottish road trip posts . . .please excuse me on that; life got in the way and also I do struggle with writing so many travel posts in one go. In the meantime, let's take an interlude while I look at my favourite songs of 2017.

First up, this is probably my favourite song of the year.

I was in Lanzarote in April/May of this year when I first heard "It Ain't Me" and it was the same with this next song. Now I had no clue of the hit that "Despacito" would be at that point but I firmly maintain it didn't need Bieber to make it a hit in the non-Latin world. I far prefer the original version, just me???

Now, I've said before I tend to be a bit behind the times when it comes to music so I only discovered this song after it had been number one probably for five million weeks but Dua Lipa's "New Rules" is a song that is the perfect anthem for the old me, who was never good at getting over a break-up. I could have used these rules. And it's bloody catchy as well. Although she seems to have an aversion to keeping her clothes on her shoulders???

And I'm a bit obsessed still with this Foo Fighters song . . . just me? Fun fact: the little girls in this video are actually Dave Grohl's daughters!!!

And last but not least . . . it may be a tad predictable but I couldn't NOT include a wee bit of Ed Sheeran on my list. I struggled with what one to choose but I'm going to go with "Shape of You" ultimately. Also, if you ever fancy a cute laugh, you should look up the Teletubbies dancing to this. It's a class act. ;-)

What are YOUR favourite songs of 2017? I'd love to know.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017


Glen Coe

Day 4 of our so-far-mainly-wet roadtrip and we woke up to . . . more rain. Le sigh. However, today we were headed away from the Cowal Peninsula and up to the gorgeous Glencoe area so even if the weather didn't change, there would be more photo opportunities.

Loch Fyne


We travelled back up to the A83 and along towards Inveraray. Loch Fyne was still beautiful, if a bit gloomier than we were used to.

Kilchurn Castle
We then headed up past Loch Awe and ate cheese and crackers across the loch from the dramatic Kilchurn Castle. 

Cheese disposed of, we took the long way around to Glencoe via Tyndrum, which meant we could pass the lovely Loch Tulla. There's a viewpoint just above it, normally full of cars of people taking in the prettiness and enjoying some fresh air (or, in many a case, popping out for a fag).  As we went to pull in, we noted there was only one car already there. Which made sense, as it was a random Wednesday afternoon in the middle of November.

However, there was another occupant in the car park - a magnificent stag!!!

The Loch Tulla Stag, admiring the view!
From various Facebook pages and many an Instagram account, I've since gleaned that this stag does seem to frequent this viewpoint - however, at the time it was quite the unique, magical moment. Obviously, we stayed out of the way of him, at the other side of the car park, with the safety of the car between us, as others stopped to view him and take his picture. Eventually he wandered off - which was a good thing as I think we'd have been stopped there all day otherwise!

Glen Etive

Next up we headed to Glen Etive and as well as the usual lovely sights of mountains and waterfalls and streams, we also encountered more deer. Once again, keeping ourselves in the safety of the car. (Seriously, some people seem to forget that no matter how friendly and curious they may seem, they're still wild animals!) They really are little posers in Glen Etive. (I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the Loch Tulla stag hailed from too.)

Wee posers . . . see the wee one popping up in the middle? I didn't notice it until looking at the picture ages later!

Ghost deer?!?

One of the most photographed houses in Scotland??? (Glen Coe)

After this delight, we headed through Glencoe towards our hotel, taking in the amazing views along the way . . . and with one final stop along the way . . . the gorgeous manmade Glencoe Lochan.  This is only a short walk from its car park and the pay-off was more than worth it. I'd definitely recommend popping up there!

Glencoe Lochan

Our hotel was the Isles Of Glencoe Hotel - I'd got a voucher deal for it on itison a couple of months ago and it was totally worth the money. The loch view from our room was amazing (I'll cover that in my next post, don't you worry!) and so we sat by the window enjoying the peace and having a couple of wee drams of whisky. Bliss.

Dinner was part of our deal, and it was delicious. I have to admit, the venison option was tempting . . . but after spending so much time around incredible deer, I just couldn't do it, and opted for the vegetarian option of a chickpea and sweetcorn burger instead. Highly recommended. As is the hotel.

All in all, I think Day 4 was my favourite of the entire trip. But we did still have another two days to go . . .

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


Day 3 was probably the worst day for pictures . . . and that was because of the blooming rain striking once again! The visibility at the Tighnabruaich Viewpoint was non-existent for a start - shame as the views of the Isle of Bute and surrounding water from up there are usually exceptional.

However, we managed to catch the beautiful Loch Striven in amazing light - which was lucky, as on the way back it just looked  . . . well, wet! The reflections of the trees and mountains earlier though were just incredible.

It took me ages to work out what loch I was looking at though - that's one of the problems of loads of parts of Scotland - the 4G tends to either be either limited or completely off!

Another lovely find was Col Dam, which looked stunning despite the weather. Luckily it was signposted so I didn't have to try and find out what it was called. ;-) Especially since I can't really find anything out about it online!

We drove around the Cowal Peninsula in the rain the rest of the time, and eventually had to give up and head back to the hotel for drinks, surrounded by staff putting up Christmas decorations (still too early by the way.) Luckily there is an Italian restaurant which is part of the hotel, which has an interior door so this saved us having to brave the weather again. Phew!

We headed for bed, hoping that the next day would bring us a break in the weather. Did it? Well, you'll have to wait and see . . . 

Monday, 27 November 2017


So day 2 dawned and we woke up to . . . rain.

Now, it was hardly unexpected - we do get a lot of rain up here after all. But you just hope that this is not going to be the case because it has the potential to ruin a holiday . . . and, most importantly, your pictures! We were going to try our best not to let it though!

So after getting soaked just walking to the restaurant for breakfast at the Oak Tree Inn  and checking out, we decided to head along towards Rowardennan first, which is an even smaller village (I'm not even sure it's big enough to be a village to be honest, but it's very pretty anyway and definitely worth a visit) than Balmaha, right at the end of the same road. More east side views of the loch (you can also go up Ben Lomond from there if you're so inclined), and we also popped by Milarrochy Bay en route . . . a lovely little beach, home to an extremely photographed tree.

Milarrochy Bay

Our destination for the next two nights was Dunoon so next up we would head over to the west side of Loch Lomond, via Balloch and turn onto the A83 at Tarbet, taking the road route around to Dunoon. You can of course get the ferry, but the road is so damn pretty it's hard to resist this option. Even in the rain.


We still had some places to stop at en route though - Loch Long at Arrochar, and Jubilee Point on Loch Eck. We also stopped at Firkin Point which is very nice, but a fly flew into my right eye there, which had barely recovered from a bad bout of bacterial conjunctivitis, so I'm not feeling friendly about that particular place right now.

Reflections on Loch Long

The Arrochar end of Loch Long always offers fabulous views, regardless of weather. It's just a shame there's so much rubbish in the Loch (we were there again today and it reeked!). However, we couldn't even see anything at the Rest and be Thankful on the A83 as the weather worsened.

Jubilee Point

Once we got onto the Cowal Peninsula, the weather thankfully let up again a bit at Jubilee Point, which I was happy about as it's a gorgeous little viewpoint surrounded by mountains, with an almost tropical vibe... maybe that's just my opinion though!

The fella thinks that it always rains in Dunoon. Granted, it is starting to feel that way, as it seems it does every time we visit. (And he also did a half marathon there in that same rain a couple of years ago, which would not have been nice!) And, when we pulled into the town, the weather wasn't great. We checked into the hotel which was to be our base for the next two nights, Argyll Hotel (this was my birthday present from the fella. Thanks!). And we very quickly decided that it was time to cut our losses and head to the pub. So that's what we did! Sinbads for a couple of drinks, followed by dinner at the 51st State Bar and Grill. Then we headed back to our hotel so I could catch up on Made in Chelsea we could re-charge. And hope for better weather the next day.


Unfortunately we have no control over such things. If only . . .


Sunday, 26 November 2017


Last Sunday, myself and the lovely fella embarked on a wee mini roadtrip of some parts of the West of Scotland. The main reason for this was we had a couple of hotel voucher deals to use up - but once we had those deals booked up, we decided to make it into more of a hotel and book a couple more hotels around it. Because, as you probably know about me, I really enjoy staying in hotels!

As I got a LOT of pictures (which you'll already know if you follow me on Instagram! Sorry about that.) I thought it would be a good idea to document some of the trip, so over the next few days, be prepared to hear a lot more about it!!!

So, as I already mentioned, on Sunday off we went. First stop wasn't too far away from home - Balmaha on the east side of Loch Lomond. Part of the West Highland Way, it's a pretty little village we've travelled through on many an occasion but beyond a couple of failed attempts to fully conquer Conic Hill, which looms over the village, we haven't spent long periods of time there. But the Oak Tree Inn was offering half price rooms this month so we decided to spend the night there for once!

What a lovely hotel it was! We were situated in one of the cottages called "Loch Sloy", which had a number of rooms in it. (Don't worry, you didn't need to encounter other people.) We had a little decking bit outside overlooking the loch and it was just a wonderful little room. We ate in the hotel restaurant also; the pate was delicious and the portion of haggis I had for my main was absolutely massive!

We also went for a wander around Balmaha - we'd got there after three pm and, unfortunately, the light was already starting to fade, so no third attempt at Conic Hill on the cards this time. But we had a little walk around and got some nice pictures of the loch. I've spoken about my love of Loch Lomond on more than one occasion on this blog so you probably already know it's my happy place.

There's a famous statue here also, of Tom Weir, who once presented the show "Weir's Way" - he would visit various parts of Scotland in it and was a much-loved figure. It's really hard to get him alone as he constantly has people posing next to him, but at night we managed to get a picture of him all lit up.

After dinner we headed back to our lovely room and relaxed, ready to head onwards the next day and see ALL OF THE SIGHTS!

Unfortunately, with the following day came the rain . . . *insert Eastenders style dumdumdumDUMDUMDUM noise here*


Saturday, 18 November 2017


Before I go on, a wee disclaimer: I am going to be using the words "follow", "unfollow" and various other versions of these a lot in this post. Sorry about that, but now that's out of the way, we can proceed with the actual post.

My love for Instagram knows no limits.

Of all the social media sites, I reckon it's probably my favourite. I love having a nosy at people's photos, a wee insight into their lives. (I also love Instagram stories, but I've already discussed those so if you want to know more, please feel free to click through to this post.)

A couple of things do annoy me about it though. It's probably not Instagram's fault though, it's more of a "it's not you, Instagram, it's me" situation. Or maybe a "it's not you or me, it's actually other people." A very specific type of people.

Those people who want you to follow them sooooo much that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get your attention.

What they don't want to do in return though? Follow you back. Or at least not after they've managed to get their attention and you've followed them. Then they lose interest and, oh look, your follower account is suddenly down by one and you don't know why.

Well, now you know.

I've tried to ignore this for a while. The same way I ignore the randoms who like my latest post, and then post a comment completely unrelated to the picture about three hours later.

Or the commenters who tell me I would be perfect as their brand ambassador . . . just like the other 50,000 people they've already told.

Or the accounts that follow you, then unfollow you only to follow you again three weeks down the line. Usually I've not noticed the unfollow in the first place until I see the notification that they're following me again. I can only assume they've unfollowed me because I didn't reciprocate but then they've forgotten and have tried again.

I'm not going to deny I want to build my followers on Instagram, but I would prefer they were people who were genuinely interested in me, my travels, my clothes or my food (the main things I post on there). I get really quite annoyed by people who think they can just follow you to get you to follow them back, before hitting that unfollow button.

I recently downloaded an app to my phone that allows me to see my Instagram unfollowers and while in some ways it's a slippery slope downhill to lose your mind and think everyone hates you, in other ways it's pretty fascinating. My "recent unfollower" list is largely people who must have been following me for about five minutes because I don't even remember seeing them on my follower list in the first place. But then there's the odd one where I've followed them back because they look interesting, only to discover they've then unfollowed me. I don't want to be childish about it, but I have to admit I will often just hit the unfollow button when I see this. It's like a giant "fuck you" to them because they thought they fooled me but I bested them but it's a hollow victory cos they have like 500,000 followers and won't even noticed my absence.

Sadder are those where you followed each other and engaged and liked each others posts and you're not sure why they've decided to unfollow you. Funnily enough though, these tend to pop up rarely on the list! Which is definitely a good thing.

Anyway, I feel like I've lost the point of what I'm trying to say here but . . . here it is.

Follow me if you think I'm interesting and you actually want to look at my pictures. I have nice pictures, if you like Scotland and food and mirror selfies of 38 year old blonde women. (That last one is maybe a bit niche?)

Don't follow me purely for a follow back.

A lot of people I follow don't follow me back and I don't expect them to. I also don't unfollow them purely because they haven't.

Perhaps I should make this my new Instagram bio?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


I really love Scotland. Which is handy given that I live there. ;-)

And one of my very favourite things about it is the multitude of lochs. There are tens of thousands of them in Scotland too, so there are always new ones to discover. And some of them are so damn photogenic they are just asking to be "Instagrammed"(is that a verb? If not, then it should be!).

So here's a wee run-down of some of my favourite lochs to photograph . . .

Loch Long
Loch Lomond (well, we all knew that would be on my list since it's my favourite!)

Loch Katrine

Loch Shiel
Loch Tulla

Loch Earn (the Mirror Man may not be there anymore, but it is still a lovely loch!)

Loch Cluanie

Loch Rannoch

Loch Tay

Loch Leven (Kinlochleven)

Do you have a favourite loch?

Monday, 6 November 2017


There’s one thing people say to me a lot . . . and it’s not “Oh look, Paula’s drunk again” (at least, not to my face anyway).

It’s actually “you’re always on holiday”.

Now, although that’s technically not true, and I do resent people saying it, I do go on holiday quite a lot. I’ve been on three sunshine holidays this year as well as numerous trips around Scotland . . . and most of it I’ve managed to do relatively cheaply. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to impart some of my wisdom.

Okay, some of it is common sense or pretty obvious . . . but hopefully it’ll still come in handy!

  • First off, for UK holidays, booking.com is my friend. If I fancy a wee night away, I usually just plug in my dates, choose a part of Scotland and then hit search. There’s often decent deals that pop up on nice hotels, and if all else fails I just order them low to high and go through them until I find somewhere I like the look of.

  • Voucher deals are also a good way of finding a nice hotel deal, sometimes you can even get dinner included for a great price. Things to watch out for? You’re often going to have to pay a supplement for weekends, which can instantly add additional money on to your “great deal”. And make sure you have a couple of days of leeway in case the hotel can’t accommodate you on the day you want. I find 5pm.co.uk and itison are best for these sort of deals so I check them often. 

  • Also with a wee UK deal, you’re going to have to remember to factor in petrol costs. I always forget about that.. Or train/bus costs. Unless you want to walk there of course – feel free to do so if you want, not my bag though as you probably know!
  • Looking for a sunny holiday? I have three companies I turn to – Jet2, Thomson (or TUI as it’s now called) and Thomas Cook. I prefer a package holiday, I can't be dealing with booking the different bits and pieces independently. (If that's what you were looking for, sorry! I can't help you, I'm afraid.)

  • When I’m looking for a holiday, I try to take time off where I can afford to be a bit more flexible. So if I’m wanting a week long holiday I will take a week and a half off work, or if I want a ten day holiday I’ll take two weeks off. (I can always cancel part of the time off I’ve requested later once I actually have the holiday booked. More often than not, I don’t though.) This means I can look at different dates and have a bigger selection of destinations to choose from.

  • I try not to go for school holidays since the price does shoot up. Obviously if you’re a teacher, have kids of school age or work in a school in some other capacity this tip will not help you, and for that I apologise. (I really am sorry. Overpriced school holidays are the worst and travel companies are mean.)

  • If possible, I’ll search the dates I’m looking for, from my local airport (Glasgow) with no destination and see what options I have once I order the holidays from low to high. I’ll also try other airports, usually just Edinburgh, to see if there are any better deals. I tend not to look further afield as then I have to factor in the additional cost of travel to another airport.  This gives me a good idea of what destinations are available and the range of price.  

  • Jet2 are my favourite. They have a wide range of deals, destinations and I feel like their holidays are a bit more flexible in terms of duration. For example, me and the fella went to Lanzarote with them earlier this year for 11 nights for just over 400 pounds each. A ridiculously random amount of time (amazing though!), but we got a really good deal on it. And you get a ridiculously high luggage allowance. My only bugbear with them is that you can’t leave the destination field blank so you have to go through and do an individual search on all the destinations you fancy. This is immensely annoying - get it sorted, Jet2!!!

  • If you opt for a Thomas Cook holiday, bear in mind that the deal might not be as good as it initially looks. I think they sometimes use different companies, like Easyjet or Flexible Trips, so you might find that the brilliant deal isn’t including putting luggage in the hold, or a transfer. You might not necessarily need these, granted . . . but I do.
  • I'm not a massive fan of the all-inclusive deal but give it a chance - you may pay more upfront but you'll be saving yourself money once you get there.
  • On that note too, if you are going self-catering, try and make sure you get somewhere with kitchen facilities. It's good to have a fridge, for a start (that bottle of cava won't keep itself cool, y'know!) and it means you can at least pretend you might be eating in and saving money sometimes. I've stayed in a couple of places with no kitchen facilities and its a bit frustrating. (I one also stayed somewhere that did have kitchen facilities but no cups in any form and the first night I had to drink my wine out of a small pot . . .but that's another story.)
  • Be sure to clear your cookies often if you're doing frequent searches for holidays. I don't really how much of an impact this has, but I've definitely had times when I've been looking at a certain holiday twice in one day and the price has shot up . . . when I have cleared my cookies and searched again it's went back to the original price so there definitely seems to be some truth in the whole theory.
Hopefully some of these little tips might help you - as I said, a lot of it is common sense and isn't really a massive secret. I would say this though - it's rare a cheap holiday bargain will just fall in your lap and I do spend a lot of time looking for holidays online. That being said, very occasionally, you could have been looking for ages for a good holiday bargain and one day a great deal will just pop up during your search.
Like magic.
And when that happens, it's the best.

Monday, 30 October 2017


So we're on to part 5 of my reading challenge . . . and this may be a bit of a spoiler alert but I'm fairly sure I'm going to not only make it to 40 books but surpass it. I've just totted up the books I read while in Ibiza and I'm now at 39!!! To be fair, once again my reading has slowed right down since then, but I'm fairly confident now I will beat 40.

Anyhoo, we need to rewind a bit for now and here are books 21 - 25 from this year's reading challenge!

Hot Mess - Lucy Vine

This book was a bit of an anti-romantic comedy; it was definitely more about the comedy and less about the romance, but I loved it. Ellie is our heroine here and she is having no luck finding a man . . . in fact nothing in her life is going smoothly. But hey, wouldn't that make for a boring read?! Great wee read, I breezed through it in less than two days. 9/10

Big Sexy Love - Kirsty Greenwood

Kirsty Greenwood has never disappointed me when it comes to reading (and also being a totally genuine and funny human) and this book was no exception. Olive is a girl who is very much stuck in her comfort zone . . . but is thrust completely out of it, and into New York city on her lonesome, thanks to the love she has for her best friend.  Cue many hilarious mishaps, a dash of romance, and the absolutely loveliness that is true friendship . . . a must read. Someone gave her an absolutely horrendous review of it on amazon recently . . . I genuinely think they must have been reading the wrong book because I would give it more than five stars if I could. One of my favourite books of 2017! 10/10

Unrequited Alice - Sarah Louise Smith

Unrequited love is tough. It's especially tough when the love of your life is about to marry your best friend, as Alice is finding out. But on the hen weekend in Canada, she meets Toby . . . who has pretty much exactly the same problem as she does. But can they help each other or will they just hinder the other? I enjoyed finding out. 7/10

Stuck With You - Carla Burgess

I actually mistakenly thought that this entire book was going to feature the two main characters stuck in a lift together. I was wrong. The lift encounter, where Elena meets the guy she had a massive crush on in high school, was over very quickly and was probably the most dramatic bit of the book. That being said, it was a low key but entertaining romance . . . I just kept expecting a twist or two and there really wasn't one. Still an enjoyable read! 6/10

Fitness Junkie - Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

I enjoy reading about diet and fitness - especially while eating junk food - so I knew this book would be right up my alley from the minute I spotted it online. It's the story of Janey, who is forced to try and drop some pounds when her best friend and business partner gives her an ultimatum . . . essentially he's a bit of a turd who tells her she's too fat to work with him in their wedding dress company. Anyway, she then tries out loads of different classes and techniques, and discovers the dark side of the dieting industry. This was a clever, entertaining novel, full of interesting characters, and I finished it not knowing whether I felt motivated to work out, or a bit disillusioned by the whole industry.  Oh . . . and where can I find a "bruffin"??? It's a brioche/muffin hybrid and I've no idea if it's real but I really hope it is... 8/10

So there we have it for another challenge post! And I still have material for nearly another three at the moment. I'll try not to leave too much of a break between these posts this time . . . I said try though. ;-)

What have you been reading recently?