What a year….

What a year it’s been; plenty of good lots of bad & sad and here I am, in December, facing down what’s supposed to be my favorite time of year, hiding under a blanket with my (albeit concerned looking) puppy and a bottle of fruit wine trying to remind myself that I’m an adult… but I can’t really hear myself through my childlike sobs. Yikes.

So I think I need to write all of this down, the good, the bad and the ugly to get some perspective. And then share it with all of you guys. Because heck, if a gal can’t share her deepest and most time consuming thoughts with an internet of strangers, then with whom else? Right? 😉

So, to start off with, I am concerned about the planet as a whole and my absolute inability to do anything about it. I am concerned about the bleak future we’re facing. The refugee crisis, the countless humanitarian crises, harmul hardcore feminism, persistant anti-LGBT laws in areas as advanced as the European Union,  Brexit, Putin in the East, and the West condemned to a minimum of 4 years of Trump; all while we’re doing fuck all about global warming, the inevitable food and water shortage and the epidemic uprising of diseases such as cancer. image1

All of this floats through my brain at one point or another, during almost every waking minute of every waking day. Not all at once mind you, and usually more like the faint buzzing of bees in the background of the garden of my mind, rather than the shredding lawnmower at the front and center of it, but they’re always there and manage to remind me that there’s nothing I can do about them being there. This scares me.

It scares me, because it’s the world I live in, and whenever I may die, whether I have the privilege of dying of old age asleep in my bed, or if a freak accident or illness were to take me sooner, it’s the world I’m leaving behind for generations to come. Maybe I’ll have kids someday. Maybe my brothers will. Some of my inlaws already do, I have two beautiful nephews, and two wonderful goddaughters for whom I want to create a better world. And I don’t know how to. I feel tiny, powerless and insignificant to change anything.

That being said, there are also the mundane pains and sorrows of my every day life, which seem almost childish and selfish to linger upon in the face of such global catastrophe, but I live with them every day. So affect me they do, and face them I must. (If you were wondering, these ones are the lawnmower and his buddies, the leaf blower and weed whacker.)

It’s been a long year. I’m 26 years old, almost 4 years married, have a dog and live in a nice apartment. However, this year has raced by so fast… painfully fast even; and it’s the first time that I’ve understood what my parents meant when they told me as a child to appreciate the time I have because soon it will be racing by.

I feel old. Not in the “god I’m almost 30” kind of way, I hear 30 is supposed to be an amazing age and I’m actually greatly looking forward too it. No, I feel old physically and mentally… wishing there were more hours in the day for me and what I want, rather than spending my precious hours on the futility of the rat race.

The fact that I never got on with kids my age as a child has come back to haunt me as an adult. It turns out I still don’t like most people my age.

Other 20-something year olds take themselves one of two ways: either far too seriously (making me feel aloof and childish for loving board games and video games so much) or they’re all free spirited go getters with no semblance of what a consequence might be, and stay out till obnoxious times of night drinking dizzying amounts of alcohol that make me tap out before they even think the night has even begun. This also means that I’m struggling to make friends.

 

I have several great acquaintances in Belfast, but no one that I could call up whenever to just hang with; not like my besties back home. My husband hasn’t really found anyone like that either. The one or other beer buddy, sure, but not the types of friends you can rely on at a moments notice.

 

We’ve been here almost 3 years, and we’re incredibly lonely. With barely enough time to spend on one another and our family never mind trying to go out and make friends.

That leads me to my professional situation. I’ve found myself stuck in an industry that I don’t much enjoy, with rules, regulations and goals that definitely do not align with my own, but due to my lack of a university education I am lucky to be where I am at all. I am stuck. Good and properly glued down. I come home and I’m exhausted, mentally and emotionally and haven’t the energy to as much as do the dishes…. I’ve even cried myself to sleep more often than I would really like to ever admit.

This leaves my personal life a bit of a shamble… I’m not caring for my home properly, leaving laundry to pile up like small mountain ranges and dishes to run wild in the kitchen, like dirty pasta sauce crusted monsters. That of course has the side effect of my not caring for myself properly either. Think there’s time for the gym? LOL

I did great on Weight Watchers earlier this year, losing almost 20lbs and being well on my way to looking fab, but I felt like shit. That always happens to me by the way… I hate the way I look and feel, so I go on an extreme diet… I’ve lost 20-35 lbs three separate times in my adult life now, just to then crash and burn like an emotional wreck. I end up missing a casual beer, pizza night and popcorn at the movies… being perpetually hungry and “that girl who only eats salad” makes me feel like shit… so then I convince myself that I don’t need to diet at all, and that it’s okay to love myself the way I am and then what happens? I yo-yo right back up and past my original weight… I have never weighed as much as I do right now, and I hate myself for it. Yes I do. I loathe the situation I am in. I just can’t figure this out and I don’t have the time to figure it out any better either!!!

I try my best to be confident and bright, my darling husband always says the one feature he likes about me even better than my eyes and boobs (lol) is my confidence… so I try my damndest not lose that. I’ve spent a fortune on bigger, better fitting clothes, in flattering shapes and colours, have been getting my hair dyed and regularly boost myself with my favorite makeup routine.
But then I see a mirror. Or a photo from a party where I am literally 2 times the size of every other person in the photo with me… and despite my best efforts, and investments, I feel the icy grip of self loathing upon my heart.

image4

To be honest, I’ve been restricting again lately… not eating during day, to prove to myself that I’m in control, just to then lose the battle with hunger at night and completely overindulge. I can always try again tomorrow, I tell myself. Trust me, it sucks.

All of this, and some other things that I don’t think need to take up more space at present, have lead to me being quite down this Christmas season (don’t even get me started on the fact that I desperately miss my younger brother who moved away with his wife… it’s the first ever Christmas in my life that I am spending without him, and even though he’s a pain in the ass at times, I miss him fiercely and have been very sad about it at all attempted traditions this year. 😦 ) (In the bad metaphor of my mind’s garden, that’s the hole in the corner where once a great tree stood… it’s been moved to another park and now the gap is achingly obvious.)

The tree is up, the candles lit… but it all seems very half hearted. I’ve not decorated the rest of my apartment properly, and I’ve not even bought a single present! Usually I am DONE by now, but I’ve not even started!! I haven’t baked a single minced pie (I’m afraid I’ll have a “snaccident” if I do) and I’ve not even put in the effort to watching a single one of my favorite Xmas movies. 

 

ALL Of THAT being said, I also had some great things happen this year, so now that I have vented some of my biggest heartaches off my chest, I want to share some of the amazing things that happened, that I am truly grateful for and will hopefully get me back in gear in time for Christmas in 2 weeks.

image6I have an amazing husband. He loves and supports me through everything and I think we’ve really found our stride this year. He knows that I’ve been struggling a little, with how untraditional and sometimes “unromantic” we have been (based on the classic template) but, funny story, we found a YouTube video that gave us some serious perspective. I know right?? I’ll share it for you here: https://youtu.be/jltM5qYn25w Let’s just say it showed us that we’re the new kind of romantic, and have our very own way of bonding over things and that’s okay. More than okay, I genuinely believe it’s helped us be the best us we’ve ever been.

We have Riker, our pugalier puppy. He’s a gem and a pain in the ass, but I wouldn’t be without him. He’s my companion on days such as these, when Derek’s at work and I don’t want to be alone. He gets me out of the house and is my snuggle bug. (He also drives my parents crazy and ate the leg off of my new dining room table when we first got him, but hey, no one’s perfect. 😉 )

image5

We have made our apartment our home. When we first moved in, it felt like a huge hotel room, but just that, a rented space… someone else’s space that we were borrowing. It took almost two years, but now when I come home it’s exactly that – coming home. And I love every awkward little inch of this space. It’s our first family home, Derek, Riker and I, and I love it.

I have a job. I don’t have to be in love with it every day, but I have the good fortune of being employed, and being able to bring home a generous paycheck (for an uneducated hick 😉 ) and I’m grateful for it.
We’re about to go on vacation. Derek’s family invited us to go to Mexico with them for the new year, and it’s going to be glorious. My inlaws are quirky (whose aren’t?) but I love them to bits and can’t wait to see them and spend time with them and see how happy my hubby is when he’s with them. mexico

And I have my family. Through thick and thin, crazy and crazier, madness and insanity. They’re mine. They’re generous, loving, welcoming people, with hearts of gold and sparkling humor. I don’t know what I would be without them, and I’d rather not think about that. 

So that’s it… those are (almost) all the things that are battling in my head for attention right now and also, the long list of reasons why I haven’t blogged in such a long time.

I’ve been battling my demons and didn’t feel like it was genuine to be posting my thoughts on recipes and travel destinations when I wasn’t really feeling it.

Huge shout out to my dear friend Richard who took it upon himself to write to me the other day, asking when I would blog again because he missed reading my posts; I am not sure this lengthy, self centered, sob-story rant is what he had in mind, but hey, his encouragement helped me take the time to sit down and type this and hopefully find my new blogging groove. So thanks buddy.
I hope if find my Christmas spirit, preferably before the end of the season, and I just want to thank you all very much for letting me download and deal with my feelings in such a weird way. It’s oddly therapeutic.

Hopefully I will be back soon, this time with proper happy posts concerning travel, recipes, Disney dissections and of course the occasional rant.

Thanks all! xx

Advertisements

#FluffyFriday – Pros of being a Doggie Mama

Riker has been with us for just over 6 months now, and as I realised back in March, yes, I am a puppy mama.

This comes with wonderful pros, and an unexpected boat load of cons, so I thought it would be nice to talk about both. However, I thought it would be best to start with the pros, which is of course what every prospective dog parent hopes for.

CUDDLES ~ So many cuddles. You won’t know what to do with them all!

EXCITEMENT – trust me, no one will ever be as excited to see you at the end of the working day than your pooch!

IMG_7248

COMFORT – They’re like little sadness detectors & then come to kiss away your tears.

_IGP9393

COMPANIONSHIP – There is no such thing as complete loneliness when they’re around, even if they’re just sitting on your feet sleeping.

IMG_9486

EXERCISE – Who knew I could walk this much?

IMG_9327

MEETING NEW PEOPLE – I have literally met more of my neighbours by having our dogs meet, than ever before!

HILARITY – They bring hilarity into your life, you will laugh so much. Especially when they do things like: trip over themselves, scare themselves by falling off folding chairs, chase their tails and pull goofy faces.

IMG_8459

PRIDE – When they learn a new trick and you get to show it off? Priceless!

IMG_8985

LOVE – In all of this, your doggie makes you feel unconditionally loved, appreciated and needed in this world, which is a true gift.

 

I don’t think either of us would have this any other way, at this point; Riker has become an integral and irreplaceable part of our lives, even though he’s only been in it for 6 months.

(Disclaimer: It’s not all been sunshine and daisies though, and I will share some more about that, that next time. 🙂 )  xx

I’m sorry that you stole my bike – #ThoughtfulThursday

This evening I met with a constable from the Belfast Harbour Police; he took my statement regarding an incident in late April when 3 young teenagers made off with the Belfast Bike that I had returned to a station in Titanic Quarter.

I had returned the bike according to protocol, reported the incident immediately to the company and the police, and because of that I was not going to be held liable for the lost bike. Yay.

A few days later, the bike was found, badly battered and beaten (missing the light, handle covers and bell, with cut wires, slashed tires, and dents) but the case seemed closed; now they just wanted my official statement for the record.

However, those boys were never caught and that’s what makes me feel awful.

No, I don’t want to see them “punished”, I want to take this chance to apologize to them.

Children and youth are not inherently bad. I was just one myself, less than a decade ago, and I know that they’re (mostly) actually quite alright; but they struggle with impulse control – they see a tall ledge and feel the need to jump. They see a loose sign and just have to hit or kick it. Someone offers them a swig of a drink they shouldn’t have? Sure, why not.

Most teenagers don’t go looking for trouble, trouble finds them and I inadvertently presented their ids with a challenge to juicy to pass up – a chance at a cheeky joy ride.

As I said, it wasn’t my fault that the bike didn’t lock properly, but they watched me struggle to get it to lock properly in the first place, and as soon as I stepped away they tried to yank it back out.

I am sorry that you were tempted to do this and I am even more sorry that you got away with it. Because you got away with it, you will not have learned how much stress this caused me, or just how much it would have cost me (a total stranger to you) to replace the bike if they had held me liable (£250 btw) and you didn’t learn what  the consequence for stealing is to you personally… You had a jolly joy ride, feeling like the macho men society pressures you to be, like Rebels and cool dudes.

But what scares me the most is that, just like any “gateway”, if you’re unlucky, this might lead you to worse crimes – because that is what that was – a crime.

Next time, you might try to knick something off of someone way more dangerous than me and get hurt by them, or worse, it might be someone weaker than me and you hurt them in the process!

Will it stop at a bicycle? Or will it be a moped? Maybe a motorbike? What about a car?

That’s what keeps me up at night. Worrying about where you are and whether my not stopping you quick enough, my hesitation to chase you and scare you out of what you were doing, might have allowed you to slip onto this very dangerous path.

I really hope I’m wrong. I really hope I’m over exaggerating and I really hope that you were just excited because it was a warm spring day, that you got your fill from it and that you’ll never do it again.

But if my worst fears are true, and this this leads to worse things (that I will probably never know about) – I am truly and deeply sorry that you weren’t caught that day, and that we, as a society, may have missed our chance to teach you all a lesson, and maybe help you become better people.

#ThoughtfulThursday

Becoming a Puppy Momma

For years I have wanted a dog, you could say I was one of those kids who had wanted a dog her whole life; but as is the case for so many families, due to commitments, restrictive landlords and financial concerns (A pet insurance costs HOW much?) we did not get one.

Fast forward 2 decades, past countless cases of dog walking, minding and sitting (as in watching someone else’s dog, not learning to sit like one 😉 ), my parents having eventually caved and gotten a dog of their own too and *drumroll* … Derek and I finally found ourselves in an apartment where, due to the fact that we own all our own furniture, we were finally allowed to have a (small – medium sized) dog. 😀

There were so many things to think about, such as what breed would suit us best, could we reconcile our busy work schedules to properly care for a wee dog, how much would it cost per month to have him… well normally I am the “write it all down and do the math” kind of gal, but in this case I was just too excited and dove head first into trying to find ur perfect furry match!

I started sending my hubby an excessive amount of Gumtree advertisements of dogs I fancied, (primarily of pugs, who are a) really expensive and b) brachiocephalic meaning their health would be even more expensive in the future) and he kept giving me the non-committal  “uh-huh”, “that’s nice” and “mhm” responses … however, to keep a long story short I eventually found this guy:

12512265_10153781090140219_5400371414341402247_n

He is a Puaglier; he has the features of a pug that I adore (extra skin rolls, squishy forehead, short coat, faun coloured and a curly tail) but he has the height and long snout (read: good breathing) of a Cavalier. Derek saw this picture and the response I got was: “Now THAT’s a dog.”

(I took that as a “yes honey, we can buy him” and contacted his owner without further discussion. 😉 )

I met the very lovely lady and her husband a few days later, at a park in Belfast (you don’t want to invite strangers you met on the internet to your home, even if you are buying/selling a dog). Since then I have been in semi-regular contact with them, since they wanted to know how he was settling in. I thought this was really sweet, and it actually made me really happy that they got back in touch, because it proved to me that he came from a loving home and that the circumstances of his rehoming were indeed as genuine as they seemed.

IMG_7392They had named him Gus, which is really cute, but I had my heart set on Riker (yes, like Commander Riker, from STTNG). All the dog training books said to rename your dog as quickly as possible, so as to create a permanent association to the name, so I started calling him Riker right away, on that first walk home.

Every time we stopped at a light, I praised him, wanted him to stop or was just talking to him, I called him Riker. It took us an hour to get home, so he got loads of practise and it worked really well. (Also, my friend Taryn of Kawaii Candy Couture made us a custom dog tag for him, to cement his place in Puppy Star Fleet. 😉 )

By the time I got him home and Derek came home from work to meet him (yes, he knew that Riker was coming home that day), he was already responding to that name. ❤

12801196_10153781090195219_402129597650994005_n

First “Family Photo”.

Now, when “they “say that getting a dog is a lot of work… believe them, and trust me that every dog owner you have ever talked to downplays just how much work it really is. 😉 He is inquisitive, clever and crafty. He wants to get to know the world (and to my dismay usually explores it with his teeth) but also knows who his pack his, and is wonderfully affectionate and sweet.

12806165_10153781090500219_7138642072306859621_nTo be perfectly honest, the first couple of weeks were rough; he seemed not to know how to sleep on his own (we’ve a bed area set up for him in the hallway outside our room), so he cried ALOT at bed time. Even though he was already 7 months old and housetrained when we got him, he didn’t know how to “mouth” gently, so instead of playing gently his nips and bites really hurt, and he was humping anything with upholstery – which was exhausting. Walking him was also a touch tricky, since he thought the nice extending lead that I bought for him (8m to give him lots of play room without being off-leash) was a chew toy and don’t get me started on my fear for my Disney Stuffies! *sweating just thinking about it* (He has also destroyed the leg of my new dining room table… I thought he was lying underneath it chewing on his bone, and I was waaaaay too late to notice that he was actually chewing on the table! Alas… my fault.)

12670499_10153840904390219_5339511400703164018_nHowever, he is an incredibly fast learner. He learned to walk on leash very quickly and we were even able to upgrade him to the extendable leash within just a few weeks. 🙂 He (almost) walks at heel now (hopefully that will get better with time), does not bark at strange dogs when walking, is incredibly gentle and patient with strangers, good with children, and knows to not bring his treats onto the sofa… he has (almost) learned not to touch my stuffies and that he has his own toys, is getting really good at a doggie food puzzle toy that we bought him and has excellent dinner manners (he sits pretty and waits as I prepare his food).

12832448_10153781093905219_711302934970222411_n

There are still a few things we need to iron out, such as his incredible curiosity for anything edible (eating on the sofa is really hard for us these days) and he still does not know the different types of human/dog interaction. Whenever we go to touch him, he thinks its play time, so he doesn’t really know yet how to just let us pet him, brush him or scratch his belly without him trying to “catch” our hands with his teeth, since they’re playthings in that instance. *sigh* But we’ll get there. 😀

Coming home to him at the end of the working day is priceless. He is affectionate and excitable, gets us making better choices (we are sooooo much more active now)… we still get to be ourselves, be social and play our video games as well, but we also spend a lot more time in the here and now, with him. He loves to play, cuddle and just generally be around us – which is oddly, magical.

IMG_7263

Even though I always wanted a dog, I never understood why people called them “fur-babies”… they’re animals after all, not people. But now that I have Riker I am starting to understand:  I love his goofy puppy grin, how he licks me all over and jumps like a kangaroo in excitement when I come home, how he curls up at my feet to keep them warm when I watch a movie and how he has brought out the very best in Derek. (I could write a whole separate post about how having Riker has positively affected him.)

 

Now I can’t help but admit that he is indeed my fur baby, and I have – at long last – become a Puppy Momma!

 

 

To blog or not to blog…

It’s interesting looking back over the posts I’ve written, especially considering that I still don’t fancy myself as much of a “blogger”.

There are recipes and reviews, angry rants and thoughtful reflections but most importantly, I have noticed that there are many “unfinished” projects.

I was off to an incredibly good start on “Around the world in 26 breakfasts” and thought I had a real crowd pleaser when I started “Disney Lessons”.

What strikes me though, is that when I think about those projects, rather than being excited and joyful about the fun things they would allow me to do (namely cooking some amazing international breakfasts and having an excuse to re-watch and totally over analyze my favourite Disney movies) they have become a source of stress.

I berate myself for not having “posted” in so long, fearful that any of the few regular readers that I have might lose interest in waiting and might stop following my blog all together.

There is so much I’d like to write about, such as our recent trip to London, my wonderful (and unfavourable) experiences with AerLingus, the kindness and understanding of Viking River Cruises, not to mention all of the great foods we’ve been cooking and so much more. But I’ve found that the pressure of writing things that other people will enjoy, and in a way that won’t get me judged, has scared me away from my computer all together. I ask myself “to blog or not to blog?” And more often than not I end up simply answering that question with a defeated “no”.

I’ve opened this page innumerable times, have started and deleted countless drafts… And then I look at those projects and feel guilty that I haven’t done anything with them, and put off writing anything new until I’ve continued those.

To you wonderful readers – I want to say:  thank you. Thank you so much for joining me on this blogging journey for these past 18-ish months, despite all the breaks and I promise, I will finish those series eventually. 😉

I hope you’ll forgive me, if unlike my more organized or even professional online peers, I admit that I don’t enjoy the stresses of scheduled posting and that I am choosing to not be doing this on a schedule.

I am enjoying life so much right now; cooking and traveling, work is going well, I’m making pretty great choices for my health and on the weekends we’re just relaxing.

I look forward to what 2016 has to bring and am open to any article suggestions you may have.,

Thanks again to everyone who checks back here every once in a while, I really appreciate it.

xoxo

Disney Lessons 

After a great deal of wonderful and encouraging comments to write more about my passion for all things Disney, I decided to re-watch as many Disney movies as I please (much to the delight of husband 😉 ) and then write about them in order.

I’ll cover everything from the basic plot summary, to themes I pick up on, lessons I think I would take from it as an adult, and even discuss any common “issues” people have with the movie, such as potential subliminal messaging and whether I find them to be true or not (or at least important enough to note.)

That being said, I was all geared up and ready to start my first adventure tonight and was baffled by the pure amount of obstacles I had to overcome to get there.

So let’s begin with my (not so idiot proof) to-do list in preparation for this new series: Disney Lessons. (Let’s call this, lesson the first.)

1) Call people to a vote on Social Media as to what movie you should examine first. Cross your fingers that your favorite movie (on that list) wins and then have a half hour debate with yourself, like a crazy person, about whether you need to even follow the vote when it doesn’t come out in your favour. “But why ask if you’re just going to ignore them?” You hear your logical side plea, as your selfish inner demon snarls “I don’t really care, I had other plans, precious.” in retort, until your higher self beats both of them around their proverbial heads with an imaginary slipper because “wise up – you’re fucking fighting with yourself! Oh and the vote wins.”

Fine – the vote wins. Ow.

2) Get into Pj’s. Yesterdays Pj’s because you’re not an adult and haven’t done laundry. Damn.

3) Be health conscious and make a cup of steaming green tea and natural popcorn as your snack in the lovely pop-corn maker your brother got you for Christmas. Realize that that combination tastes like shit, melt butter to pour over that popcorn and get a chilled apple cider from the fridge. Much better.

4) Start up Netflix and realize they’ve removed the movie. Look for the movie in the old movie box. Realize that you’ve just dug all the way to the bottom the wrong movie box, this isn’t the Disney box, so try again. Find the movie. Yay!

5) Lost the remote. Dive into the precariously Mary Poppins like Cable bag… yes, the one where hopes and dreams go to die!!!

6) Finally plug in the movie and grab your computer so that you can take notes just to notice that now that your popcorn is buttery you really don’t want to be typing. Damn.

7) Remember that your other brother got you a note pad last Christmas that you vowed to use for blogging notes. Run to go get it. (Of course it’s not where you think it is, so you start searching all over your stupid little apartment… this place isn’t so big, where the damn can it be? Oh in the bag of presents from Christmas and your birthday, of course… *sigh*)

8) Get back to the sofa, book and pen in hand just to realize that the tea’s gone cold, the cider is warm, your popcorn is soggy and you’ve still not even started the movie.

Total time: One hour.

Lesson learned? Search first, prep food at the end. *eye-roll*

Well… here we go! (I’ll be back once I’m done my very deep analysis of Dumbo. Haha)

Thanks for stopping by! xoxox

A surprise weekend in Scotland

Just about 2 weeks ago now, my Mum and I were having our daily chat on the phone, when my Dad started spewing some sort of excited none-sense in the background. Wanting to know whether I worked that coming weekend, and whether my husband worked … if we did work, when would we be off work? And whether we had any plans?

He got so excited, that Mum could not continue to talk to me, since he needed to discuss his idea with her (right away) and we hung up. I was incredibly excited – because when my Dad has an idea – it’s usually (the good kind of) crazy and I was really curious to know what he was up to! A few hours later I was still none the wiser, but was asked whether I was up for a crazy adventure. My options of answers? Yes or No.

Not being one to turn down an adventure I said yes and was promptly informed to rearrange my work schedule (we had to leave Belfast by no later than 22:30, so my 23:00 end of shift would simply not do) and that I was to pack a bag.

I was instructed to pack the following:

  • decent outdoor clothes and walking shoes
  • shorts and t-shirts
  • (maybe) swimming things
  • toiletries
  • pyjamas
  • underwear (duh)
  • any electronics and cables I wanted to bring

Also Derek (my husband) had to bring his good camera.

The only other information I was given, was that we should be returned home by approximately 2:00 Monday morning (Sunday night).

And then the most agonizing 36 hours ever commenced… I kept messaging them asking if I could have hints or tips or whether they’d tell me… and then dad occasionally would promise a tip or two which would result in conversations like this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.05.49 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.06.21 AM

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.07.25 AM

And this one’s my favourite: 

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.09.04 AM

Dad says: Should I at least give you one small tip?

I say: Yeeeeees … ?

Dad says: But just one…

Result:

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.09.14 AM

It was a fantastic build up and then I was counting down each hour, messaging my parents things like “4 more hours”, “3 more hours”, “2 more hours”, only “1 hour left” and then “omg omg omg it’s now!”.

We went back to my apartment, grabbed our bags (and my darling husband) double checked that all the lights, sockets, etc. were switched off (I am super paranoid about that) and once we had locked up, we got into the car.

Now, what you need to know is that my parents and I have a “travel song” (more on how that came to be, some other time) but suffice it to say it’s “Take it Easy” by the Eagles. So, my dad asks if someone’s got our travel song ready before we leave (to which I had to admit no, I did not, because my phone was almost dead and was out of my reach as it was charging) so dad said he’d get it …

The song that came on the stereo however was not “Take it Easy” it was “Hawks and Eagles” by North Sea Gas, a wonderful Scottish band whom my family have been friends with for many years and that song specifically has been my favourite ever since I could talk! Mum “protested” that this was the wrong song but then Dad clarified that for this journey it was most certainly the right song… and I burst into a flood of tears as I realized we were going to Scotland!

Not only that, but I was then informed that my Dad got tickets to see North Sea Gas (whom I hadn’t seen in YEARS – seriously, I think I was 12 the last time I saw my Uncle Davie) – live in concert at the Edinburgh Fringe. I was beside myself and then cried some more.

I wanted to share this amazing experience and weekend with you, but I had way too many pictures to share in a blog post, so instead, I made a wee video and uploaded it to my YouTube channel. I would be thrilled if you watched it, because we had an amazing adventure!

LINK –> this way –> https://youtu.be/SIulsjp8DMs <– seriously, click that!! <— LINK

IMG_3339It was an amazing adventure, a crazy idea and a whirlwind trip without much sleep, but we had the most fabulous time and I am so incredibly grateful to my parents for taking us. We heard great music, saw amazing places, Derek tried his favourite Scottish craft beer “Inis & Gunn” from the tap and I even tried (and LOVED) breakfast Haggis! *YAY*

IMG_3467IMG_3324IMG_3366

I will share a separate post with my reviews of all the amazing places we visited, once I get a chance. As always thanks for reading (and this time watching) and take care. xoxox

IMG_3288