Wednesday, 30 December 2015


I've never been very good at sticking to exercise.

I've actually been, remarkably, doing my weekly pole fitness class since 2011 now, but that is the only definite regular exercise I get. Since I started seeing the fella, I rarely walk to work and back anymore, and I always had that 5 mile round trip five days a week to keep me relatively trim and any further exercise I did on top of that and pole fitness was a bonus.

This year, as I mentioned in my previous post I'm determined I am going to exercise more. I've been a member of Julia Buckley's online gym for a while now but this time I'm getting serious. I have decided that, in order to hold myself accountable, I am going to actually get in regular posts with regards to my progress and how often I am actually doing the exercise.

There are tons of online workout videos on Julia's site as well as some amazing recipes and an amazing online community supporting each other. I intend to take full advantage of that and make sure that 2016 is the year I actually shape up.

Oh, and if you are interested yourself in joining the website, it's currently less than ten pounds a month to join.

I used to pay more than that for the gym on a monthly basis... and I genuinely have used this website more in the last year than I ever used the gym.

I'll let you know how I get on... and if you do join, please feel free to add me on there - I'm pollypoptart.

C'mon 2016!!!

Sunday, 27 December 2015


So 2015 is nearly over... so it's obviously time to think of what resolutions we can set ourselves and probably ultimately break within a matter of days into 2016.  Here are mine . . .

1) Cook more.
I've done pretty well this year (I think I have pretty much nailed my chilli recipe now), but I still am terrified of recipes with more than about ten ingredients. I want to step out of my cooking comfort zone and find some new recipes that I can try and then perfect. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

2) Exercise more.
This year has been pretty rubbish for me in terms of exercise but I need to start fitting it into my life more. I joined an online gym at the end of last year and kept up the workouts for most of January but then I just slipped back into my lazy ways. This year I am going to do my best to keep it up, and aim to get a workout in at least three times a week, as well as my pole fitness class, and start to walk more again. I might document my progress here as maybe that will hold me accountable. We'll see  . . .

3) See even more of Scotland.
You'll know from my Scotland the Beautiful posts that me and the fella love travelling around Scotland. There's still so much I want to see though - so many islands for a start! I'd like to visit at least another few islands next year, after falling in love with Skye earlier on this year. I wouldn't mind going back and revisiting the North Coast 500 either, which we drove in its entirety this year - there were some places we missed that I would like to see, and I'd love to go back to Ullapool as it was so pretty. First up though will be a trip to Tarbert (I got the fella a deal for Christmas) and also a trip on the Strathspey Railway up in Aviemore (the fella got me a deal for Christmas). I'll keep you updated via the Scotland the Beautiful posts though!

4) Blog more
Speaking of blogging, I want to get back to more regular posting. I have a list I regularly add to of blog ideas on an app on my phone - I need to actually start expanding on the list and actually writing the posts! Even if I can try and blog a minimum of once a week that would be a good thing to aim for. I don't want you all to forget about me after all.

5) Save some money
I'm 36 years old ffs... this is the year I need to pay off the credit card I stupidly got in 2014 and actually have some semblance of savings so that I'm not relying on my overdraft or aforementioned credit card every time I want to get away on a holiday. I've got some plans to sell a lot of my dvds, cds and dresses that I've never worn that don't fit so hopefully that will be a way to build up a little savings buffer... and then I need to start trying to put a bit away on a monthly basis.

I don't think these are entirely unrealistic resolutions... Hoping I can stick to a couple of them if not all anyway! Wish me luck. :-)

Thursday, 24 December 2015


Happy Christmas Eve, folks! Can you believe it's came around again already?

For an early Christmas present, I've decided to give you yet another post from my Scotland the Beautiful series . . . this is a place we finally visited in September of this year, after driving past the road for it many times and writing it off due to bad weather. Amazingly we chose the perfect day for it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you . . . Glen Etive.

There are peaks and troughs, earth and waterfalls . . .  and a lovely little loch at the end of your drive. What more can you ask for?

If you're heading towards Fort William via Glen Coe, it's a nice little trip to add on if visibility is good. You'll start to see signs before you get to Glen Coe and then you hang left and into a glorious valley.

He strikes a bonny pose, eh?

That loch but . . .

Love a wee loch pose, so I do.

Maybe you haven't heard of Glen Etive before now? But is that a bad thing?

I'd recommend you get to know it.

Maybe you already know it more than you think . . . apparently it featured in the James Bond film "Skyfall". So perhaps you've seen it before and you just didn't realise!!!

Some more info about the glen and its attractions can be found here and here.

And if you haven't previously checked out some of the hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems I've found in Scotland over the past few years, please don't hesitate to check them out here.  I promise there's some good 'uns there! ;-)

Friday, 18 December 2015


I've always kinda loved infomercials . . . they're a guilty pleasure if there is literally nothing else on the tv except for news and sport. But there is a recent breed of shorter infomercial which is ruining my morning tv viewing while I get ready for work, and I want to take this opportunity to have a bit of a rant about it.

I pretty much exclusively watch E4 (or E4 +1 depending how late I'm running) in the morning while I'm getting ready. At the moment this has involved double episodes of "Charmed" which is by the way one of my favourite ever TV shows. As in I owned half the boxsets at one point and have seen every episode numerous times but am still over-the-moon that I can watch it every single weekday morning, providing I'm out of bed in time.

Over the last year or so though, the ad breaks, which used to be short and sweet, have involved the same series of mind-numbing long adverts over and over again. 

The Nono pro. Is it all one word? Is it two? Do I care? I just want it off my screen! How many ways can you say "it removes hair without any pain"? I've lost count in this advert. Their tactic seems to be "let's get lots of people to say the same thing over and over again but not tell anyone how the product actually works". I am happy for the dude who feels like he can now go to the beach and is willing to take his shirt off though - he does look like it's quite the weight off his shoulders.

Proactiv Plus - This is the one where Nicole Scherzerthingwibob from the Pussycat Dolls pretends to be just like the rest of us. She knows what it's like to have bad skin, she tells us all, as screen highlights one spot on her otherwise perfect face. Throughout the rest of the advert, she convinces us to buy the product that allegedly helps her, with a completely spot-free and perfect face throughout, telling us how great it is when you don't need to worry about your skin!!! Don't get me wrong, I've had bouts of bad skin throughout my life, and it isn't fucking great, but having better skin wasn't the solution to the rest of my problems. I'm not saying that the company shouldn't advertise the product but WHY DO THEY HAVE TO MAKE IT SO LONG??? And does Nicole really have to be so damn cheesy and so annoyingly perfect throughout it? (Apart from that one spot, obviously!)

Last up, we have the . . . I think it's called the Pure Skin Gold or something ridiculous like that. Now that is basically, from what I can gather, a lot like the Nonopro . . . but its big selling point??? MARTINE MCCUTCHEON is in the advert raving on about how it makes her skin feel amazing. Oh well, if Martine is on board with it, then it's a must-have for me. (Can you imagine how much I'm rolling my eyes as I type that?) She has never felt so beautiful apparently! My favourite part of this advert though is when they bring a group of women together to talk about how great it is - it's deliciously awkward. They start the conversation by one of the girls saying to the others "so . . . have you tried it?" WELL, IF THEY HADN'T, THEN WHY ARE THEY THERE TO DISCUSS IT??? The same girl then goes on to talk about how she doesn't need to "manage" her hair anymore because the product does it for her . . . surely she still has to operate it?

I think the thing that gets to me most about these three product adverts is that they're placed smack bang in the middle of shows featuring beautiful women like Alyssa Milano or Rose McGowan, who you're already probably going to be feeling inferior to. Especially first thing in the morning when you haven't managed to wake up properly, and are trying 1) not to feel like a zombie and 2) make yourself look remotely human. When these products first started appearing on my tv screen it was on morning E4 repeats of "Made in Chelsea" so that was actually even worse than "Charmed" as the girls on MIC are so disgustingly young, whereas you can at least console yourself with the fact that Alyssa and Rose are a wee bit older these days.

So I have to admit that despite my anger with the products, the placement of the adverts, and the contents of the adverts I am also angry because of how they make me feel. And that I am letting them make me feel this way.


I'm not sure which one of those adverts I hate more.

Thursday, 3 December 2015


As winter kicks in, I crave comfort food and stodge . . . one of my favourite cold night meals in the past few years has been chilli con carne, but it's turned into a bit of an obsession over the last few weeks. This probably coincided with me trying it with chocolate added to it for the first time. Oh my goodness, talk about a taste sensation!

Anyway, chilli con carne is ace and I'm now here to share my current favourite recipe for it. Because I'm nice like that. And it's delicious but, nearly as importantly, not difficult to make!!!

This recipe will serve between two and four depending on 1) how you choose to serve it and 2) how greedy you are!

  • 500 g minced beef
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (garlic powder can do at a pinch)
  • Any other veg you want to use (I usually use mushroom, peppers and occasionally, if I can be arsed, some grated carrot)
  • Tin or carton of tomatoes (approx. 400g - I usually use one with either chilli or herbs)
  • Approx half a tube of tomato puree
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Hot chilli powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Salt and pepper (optional, to taste)
  • Herbs (I used oregano and basil - because that's what was in the fella's cupboard)
  • Kidney beans (optional)
  • Dark chocolate (I used six small squares of Green and Black's 85% dark chocolate)
The Method
  1. Chop up the onions and garlic, and fry them up in a pan. Enjoy the amazing smell. This is just the beginning. I promise.
  2. Chuck the mince in and brown. Keep an eye on this while chopping up the rest of your veg.
  3. Throw in the veg and add the chopped tomatoes. I usually then half fill the tomato carton or tin with cold water and add that to the pan, followed by the stock cube.
  4. Once that's all mixed together, it's now time to spice it up. Add a sprinkling of herbs, a teaspoon of hot chilli powder, paprika, cumin and coriander. Salt and pepper to taste, if you want. Mix in, add some more chilli powder. In total, I usually use between 2 and 3 teaspoons of chilli powder but it's completely up to your taste.
  5. Squeeze in around half a tube of tomato puree, once this is absorbed in, drain the tin of kidney beans (I use a small tin and often forget to add them) and throw them in too. Add some more chilli powder if you want. (Don't feel like you have to though. You may want to do a quick taste test to see if you want more or have already overdone it.) Leave to simmer away for as long as you want, just making sure that it's not burning.
  6. Once you're nearly ready to serve up, add the chocolate and make sure it's melted and mixed in well.

And now you can eat! Serve however you want - I actually tend to just have mine with some grated cheese and sour cream/natural yogurt. If you do it that way you're probably only going to get two (large) portions out of the chilli mixture. Other alternatives though to make it go further? Baked potato and chilli. Chilli with rice. Spoon it into tortillas and make chilli beef fajitas. Enchiladas. Chilli nachos.

All delicious options. I thoroughly endorse them all. And I always wholeheartedly recommend the addition of cheese. Because... cheese!

Just make it. Okay?

Saturday, 28 November 2015


Every year I'm baffled by some of the gift ideas I see online; below is this year's selection!

Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur

Why would you want to drink a unicorn's tears? I'm not wanting to have any part in upsetting a unicorn! (And pay forty quid for that dubious privilege at that!)

Flatulence underwear

Now, I don't know about you but I would be delighted to received these. (In case it wasn't clear, that previous sentence is heavy on the sarcasm.) This underwear (also available for men, in case you were wondering) will allow you to "finally trump with confidence" and will apparently hide the smell. Would you be happy to receive such a present? All jokes aside though, I would recommend clicking on the link as some of the blurb on the website is particularly priceless - including a reminder that the underwear is not a nappy . . .

 A Practical Guide to Racism

My immediate reaction to receiving such a book as a gift would be "do people think I'm racist?".  It would eat away at me like a tapeworm. Enough said.

Nothing (for the person who has everything)

I can give someone nothing any time I want and I don't have to pay £6.99 or postage and packing.

Bacon Wallet

Maybe it's because I'm missing the "I couldn't be a vegetarian because bacon" gene. Or the fact that I like my accessories to actually look nice. But I can't get on board with this one at all. (I'm assuming the hand in the picture is not included.)

Here's hoping I don't receive any of these presents . . . but I better start preparing my "wow this is just what I wanted" face just in case!

Monday, 23 November 2015


So you've broken up with someone . . . if you're a Facebook addict like myself, probably one of the first things you're going to think about, while you're curled up in a snivelling heap clutching a picture of you together, is how you handle the break-up via social media. And that's not even considering how to change your relationship status without the whole world noticing . . . it's how you're going to cope with seeing them moving on from the window of a computer or smartphone!

But it's okay . . . because Facebook is now testing out a new break-up feature in the States. And this is apparently going to help you get over your ex. Because, when you change your relationship status to single, it will offer you the opportunity to hide their status updates and photos from you, untag posts of them, and hide your status updates and photos from them!

I guess I can see some advantages to this. It means you don't need to read into each and every single cryptic status update your ex posts, wondering whether or not they are regretting the break-up. You don't need to analyse any picture of them that has any member of the opposite sex in it, wondering if this is them moving on. And if you are wanting to wallow in your own miserable status updates to gain shitloads of sympathy from your friends, you can do this without them seeing . . .

Is this not merely a temporary fix though? You can still unhide the posts if you want at any point, right? You could drive yourself crazy that way.

The fact of the matter is this: Facebook has already got a break-up feature available, and it's accessible no matter where you are in the world.

It's called "unfriend" . . . followed by "block".

Hard though this might be (and trust me, I know this!!!) . . . is it not ultimately the best way to move on?

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Check out that view!
For my 36th (!!!) birthday pressie, the fella got me a 2 night stay in Kinloch Rannoch. It's a small village in Perthshire, a village I've never been to before... and it was lovely waking up by a loch in a remote wild area. (Incidentally, I would really love to live next to a loch... if one appeared in Glasgow city centre!) I'd definitely recommend a trip there if you can do it at any point!

Anyway, we continued on our quest for waterfalls one of the days by visiting The Falls of Bruar near to Pitlochry.

The Falls of Bruar are waterfalls next to the posh shopping complex House of Bruar... they are basically the only free thing in the area, but probably the most beautiful. ;-) I can't help but feel that the House of Bruar is trying to dissuade people from experiencing the beauty of the falls because it seems awkward to actually get to the start of the walk, although it is signposted. It is worth the awkwardness though.

As you know, I'm not a fan of autumn, but the autumnal colours on that particular afternoon were incredible.


Lovely colours, gorgeous views, and beautiful falls... what more do you need! Find out more here.

Oh, and Kinloch Rannoch itself also has a waterfall right in the middle of the village, so we got an accidental bonus waterfall during our trip. Look!!!

More information on the Loch Rannoch walk can be found here . . .

Friday, 13 November 2015


I absolutely love the Time Tunnel on Heart FM. As it's on at 9am and 2pm I don't tend to get to listen much during the week (unless we're running late for work) but on a Saturday I always try to make sure we've managed to get up and at 'em by 2pm so we're in the car for it playing as we head off on one of our "Scotland the Beautiful" road trips!

So, for those not in the know, Time Tunnel plays songs from a particular year for half an hour and you have to guess what year it is. I'm generally pretty good at it, as long as it's late eighties onwards. As I was only (ONLY!) born in 1979 the early to mid eighties are a bit blurrier for me.

But it's weird how the mind works. You hear a song and then it will tie back to one of your memories and that in turn reminds you of what year it was. With that one song you are taken back to your schooldays, uni days, a first kiss, the way you felt after a certain break-up . . . music is such a powerful thing, isn't it?

My favourite Time Tunnel trips are usually when a year from the 1990s is used . . . I still really love the music from that era and the nineties spanned the end of my primary school years, all of my high school years and the first few years of uni, so there are many memories from those years.

There was quite a surreal moment the other week on there though. They were playing a Time Tunnel that was clearly early eighties - I couldn't pinpoint the exact year but there was no doubt about it being early eighties. So this dude phoned in and guessed it was the year 2000.... because it reminded him of his school days?!? Me and the fella were thoroughly confused - he then proceeded to keep the DJ on the line to ask if the Forth Road Bridge was closed.

All very odd. But I digress.

What was your favourite year(s) for music?

Thursday, 12 November 2015


I know there are people out there who love Christmas. I'm actually one of them. I love the build-up, I love the anticipation, I love the Christmas films, the Christmas songs, the excuse to drink mulled wine at any given opportunity . . . I even love the overhyped overpriced Christmas nights out that tend to cost twice the price for a fraction of the choice and service!

But here's the thing . . . I do NOT like the fact that Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier ever year. That Christmas is in the shops while I'm still trying to buy suncream to go on my traditional "birthday holiday" in early October. That I'm actually sick of the constant jingling bells of Christmas songs before it even gets to December.

I'm not a scrooge by any means, I'm really not. But I just want Christmas to not be taking up a big chunk of my year each and every year. It's enough that it pretty much dominates December. It's too exhausting to take up any more than one calendar month.

And I'm still not accepting that it's no longer summer as it is - I seem to be missing the blogger gene of loving autumn - I really don't want to be talking about Christmas already. That's like proper winter and we didn't even get a decent SUMMER here this year. Enough.

Can we just start Christmas in December like the good old days? Please?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


Caerlaverock Castle near Dumfries
So yesterday an email from Historic Scotland dropped into my inbox, announcing that the ticket ballot had opened for free admission for the St Andrew's weekend (the last weekend in November). Since I'm off this week and actually read the email at the time of receiving it, I decided that I was going to get right in there first and take advantage.

Last year the fella wanted to go to Linlithgow Palace but we hadn't known about it until the last minute so it was too late to get tickets for it. This time I was able to get those elusive tickets, as well as ones for nearby Blackness Castle.

If you are a fan of castles but are sometimes put off by having to pay to get into them, this is a good opportunity to try them before you buy, so why not go onto the website and see what's available? You need to choose what day of that weekend you want to go, then provide your details... and if the day and relevant castle is available, the ticket will be sent to your email inbox. You then just print out and take it along on the day, where it's scanned at the cash desk to allow you your free entry. Simples!

Last year we visited the dramatic Doune Castle near Stirling, the prettily named Sweetheart Abbey down in Dumfrieshire, and - my personal favourite - the charming little ruin of Caerlaverock Castle near Dumfries . . . which I blogged about here previously. I'd recommend those, and I notice you can also get access to many other castles in further flung areas like Urquhart Castle up at Loch Ness... or even up on Orkney! (Transport obviously not included)

If you go to this website you can have a look at what's available and pop them in your shopping basket! I recommend doing this in one go if you're wanting to go to more than one castle as the website is quite slow and it's a bit of a long-winded laborious process to apply for the tickets!

One final thing . . . I know you're getting free access and all, but it might be nice to spend a bit of money on the site, just to give something back, or make a donation if that option is available. Just to keep the site. There's usually a gift shop, after all! And who doesn't like shopping?

By the way, once again this is not actually a sponsored post - I just think it's a really nice opportunity to plan a wee weekend around some attractions that you might not get to otherwise, and the only expense will be whatever transportation you use. You have until the 27th November to apply for tickets but I'd recommend you get in there quickly!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


Don't worry, I'm not leaving the blogosphere or anything . . . I wanted to tell you all about Ciao, in case you don't already know about it.

I'm always on the search for ways to make additional money, and the Ciao website has served me well for years. By writing reviews of DVDs, books, restaurants and a whole host of other products and services, you can make small amounts of money depending on how helpful your review is rated.

The monetary awards are small, granted, but it can build up depending on how many reviews you write. And if you are someone who has a blog and reviews products already on it, or leave reviews on Trip Advisor, then you already have experience of reviewing, so this could be the perfect way to make some extra money.

You also get monthly incentives where you might get additional money for reviewing a specific category of product - at the moment for example you can get an additional 20p just for reviewing a cleaning product, or 40p for reviewing a face product. And there's also a monthly bonus which may pay out some extra money depending on how active you've been on the site - you can get up to fifteen pounds a month there potentially, so that's pretty good!

You can also request for new products to be added if you want to review them and they're missing from the website - if you are the first person to review a product you double your money on that review for the first month, so it's worth identifying any products that aren't already on there

I've been on ciao for around ten years now (I started writing reviews on there when I was a bored and skint temp back in the mid 2000s) and tend to go through phases of being very active on it, and phases where I barely do any reviews. Over the years I've probably made several hundred pounds from it though. At the moment I have 115 pounds sitting in my ciao account - this has built up since the start of last year, and I am just waiting for my current phase of reviewing to end before I request to have it transferred into my own bank account.

You can also make extra money by getting other people to join the website and post reviews - hence this post! :-) (I'm shameless.)

You can join Ciao and start making money for reviews yourself by clicking the link below:

And if you have any questions on it, feel free to give me a shout. I might not be able to answer them... but I'll try!

Monday, 9 November 2015


Yum.... cheese and wine!!!

A couple of weeks ago, the fella and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. As you probably know, this is the longest relationship I have ever been in (as well as by far the happiest) so of course this was a big celebration for me. Involving a hotel stay (of course) and a present.

So the hotel stay was sorted - we booked a night at the Village Hotel in Aberdeen. Actually really nice - reasonably priced for a stay, although it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere so we ended up spending quite a lot on food and drink in the bar there. But a lovely stay nonetheless. (Not a sponsored post, btw!)

Was I very thirsty or very sleepy? Not sure...

Dinner in the hotel

But what about the present? Well, I had spotted a voucher deal on the booking website for a cheeseboard and wine flight at Vroni's in Glasgow. This deal had also been available last summer and we'd loved it, so I snapped this up as a gift, printed out the voucher and stuck it in the card.

So he opened his card and was delighted with the voucher, but laughing... why? All became clear when I opened my card to find the below . . .

We'd only gone and bought each other the exact same gift!
So not only do we both love cheese and wine, but we are clearly meant to be. :-)
So now our next issue is trying to work out how to fit in using both of these deals before the end of November. We've managed to fit one in so far . . . just one more to go! 

Thursday, 29 October 2015


It's time to tell you the story of The Joker.

The Joker has proved to be very lucky... for me anyway. Back in December last year, a mere couple of days before Christmas, I won the Joker, much to my amazement and delight. Then, five months later, I had barely arrived in Corfu for my holiday when I got a phone call to tell me that I'd won The Joker again.

The Joker has been good to me.

Because of it, I won more than 1400 pounds in less than six months. So I can hardly speak ill of it!

But what is it?

It's a fancier version of a raffle, to put it basically.

So you get a group of people together. Say, in my case, your department at work. Or perhaps you are part of a sports club. Or some other sort of group. Buy some raffle tickets and a pack of playing cards. Remove a joker from the pack so that only one remains. And once a week, at a set time, sell the raffle tickets a pound a pop. People who are "in" on the game, can buy as many raffle tickets as they like. The more you buy, the more odds you have of getting your name pulled out that week.

Later that day, have a time set aside for doing the draw. Pick a name out of the hat. (Or, in my work's case, a DHL flyer bag.) The person who is picked then chooses a card blindly. You could have the cards laid out face down. Or you could just get the person to cut the pack and then turn a card over.

If the person picks the joker, they win all of the money. If they don't, the money rolls over to the next week and the raffle starts again.

If they pick an ace, they get a tenner... but in my work an ace has actually picked less times than the one Joker. Weird eh?

Once someone picks the joker, they win ALL OF THE MONEY!

And that's happened to me twice. In a row (the second time I was picked out, I obviously was not there, so someone picked the card on my behalf, in case you're wondering. I'm sure I couldn't have been that lucky myself twice!) . So I've been sitting it out since then so I can give someone else a chance... and I just want someone to win so I can get another shot at it!

The Joker is not my idea, or the idea of anyone I work with. I've had a look around the internet and it seems the Joker is quite a popular competition.

I'd recommend it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


I love the internet. I love my smartphone. I love social networking. I just love how much easier life can be sometimes due to the technology we have, literally, at our fingertips.

You don't need to wait around for ages waiting for your friend because she's late but has no way of letting you know because neither of you have a mobile phone, like back in the olden days. Or, more likely you do still have to wait around for her because she's ALWAYS BLOODY LATE. . . but at least you have the option of spending the twenty minutes or so she's been delayed on your smartphone Facebook-stalking or moaning about bad timekeepers on Twitter.

But . . .I've spoken before about how much I love modern day technology but that it's a double edged sword at times.

And I discovered a few weeks ago that technology has ruined Scrabble for me!!!

Me and one of my uni friends used to play it all the time back in the day. I loved it back then, but hadn't played in years. Then the "Words with Friends" app came along and I would play it religiously. It never took over my life the way Draw Something did for that brief horrendously dark few weeks back in 2012. (I can never go back to that place. *shudder*). I could dip in and out of it, play a few shots a day, or loads if I wanted. I probably had the app in my phone for about three years, then my phone kept running out of space so I eventually sacrificed it, probably for a video clip of a goat skateboarding or something ridiculous that you shouldn't ever sacrifice your Words with Friends app for.

Anyhoo, I digress. A few weeks ago, the fella suggested we have a game of Scrabble. As in the actual board game. I hadn't even known he owned the game, and I hadn't played it for probably around fifteen years so I was pretty excited. We broke out the vino because you obviously can't play a board game without alcohol (don't even get me started on the time I recently played Monopoly sober and got very stressed out!), and got down to the nitty gritty.

But Scrabble is hard now.

For a start, you have to actually pick tiles out of the bag physically. They don't just line themselves up on your screen randomly at the touch of a button.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

How do you know that perfectly crafted word you have spelled out on the tiles is even real? Do you have a dictionary? You can't really look it up on your phone or you might be accused of cheating! If you're playing Words with Friends it will tell you whether it's a valid word or not and you don't need to risk the humiliation of not having spelled a word correctly in front of other people.

Scrabble does not afford you such a luxury.

And if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the possession of a correct word, you have to count the score for it up all by yourself. All those double and triple letter and word scores do not add themselves up in the real world.

This is when you start to realise that perhaps Scrabble and wine do not in fact go hand-in-hand.

And the worst bit of all?

You don't really have a clue whether you've won or not until you actually get to the end and the scores have been counted!!!

Game over.

So, go on technology . . . what olden day pleasure are you going to ruin for me next???

Friday, 2 October 2015


There's people out there who love a classy wine or cocktail establishment. I do too. But when it comes to having drinks out, I have a confession to make.

I love a good 'spoons.

By which I mean, I love Wetherspoons. The pub chain. (Although I do love a good spooning too.)

That's not even a secret confession because I think pretty much anyone who is my friend on Facebook or follows me on Instagram knows this due to my frequent check-ins and "arty* wine portraits" at whatever 'Spoons is closest.

*When I say "arty" I probably mean "drunken".

Anyhoo, I've always been a loyal frequenter of the 'Spoons franchise in Glasgow, but around a year or so ago me and the fella went for a drive down to England and wound up in Carlisle. We decided to go for a drink, but where to go? When you're in a strange town or city, there's pub politics - you don't know what pubs are good or bad, which ones are must-visits or must-avoids. As a Glasgow dweller, I know that there are many pubs there to be avoided depending on religious and/or football affiliations, for example, but I don't have that luxury in a place I don't know.

But when you check online and there's a Wetherspoons in close proximity, all of your problems are solved. Cheap wine, and fairly decent pub grub if you aren't of the "eating's cheating" mentality. Usually okay loos as long as you don't mind a long journey to them (have you noticed they're almost exclusively up or down a set of stairs from the rest of the pub?) Friendly service and a wide variety of customers. And free Wi-Fi!What more can you ask for?

So the night of the England trip, we had facebook check-ins in both Carlisle and Dumfries. And so The Great Wetherspoons Tour began! 

We made it our mission to find a Wetherspoons, if possible, in every UK town or city we stayed in from that moment on. We even managed to take it a step further and stay in a couple of Wetherspoons hotels! Which, by the way, are pretty awesome - they are actually really well kitted out and aren't expensive. Especially if you stay there on a Sunday night as they seem to exclusively cost £39 on that day. I've been to the ones in Broughty Ferry (just outside Dundee) and the Inverness one and they are both lovely. Highly recommended, plus you know you have a pub nearby since you're staying in one.

Funnily enough, in the past couple of days, two separate people have asked me how many Wetherspoons we've been to now. We realised that we'd actually forgotten to count. So we will need to make a list at some point. But there is a lot. And this will continue to grow!

Believe it or not, this is not a sponsored post. Although if anyone who works for a 'spoons happens to be reading this and fancies offering us some free wine or a hotel stay, I would not be saying no by any means! ;-)

The simple fact is this . . .

We're Wetherspoons-aholics. And we're not ashamed to admit it. Are you?