Exploring the Castle

A couple of weeks ago my favourite exploring buddy was back in town and it was her birthday! Being the good friend that I am I let Frances decide what activities we would fill the day with. She settled for tea and a trip to the castle. We took the train into Edinburgh late morning and decided we needed to fuel up before the exploring could commence. We headed to The Elephant House which I had never been to before. I know its shocking that its the birthplace of Harry Potter and this was only my first trip.

After some deliberation I settled for a cappuccino and a salted caramel brownie. Oh my! it was so good! The setting of the cafe is super cute and just check out this view!

How amazing is that? However I'm not going to lie I wasn't blown away by the coffee. Its definitely worth a visit for the history and a trip to the bathroom.

If I find myself in the area and in need of a coffee then I'd definitely pop back in but I wouldn't go out of my way to head back there.

After a good initial catch up we decided it was time to make our way to the castle if we wanted to make it for the one o'clock gun. I hadn't been to the castle in years and Frances had never been so we were very excited to get in some serious exploring.

We made it with 15 minutes to spare, paid our tickets, which are slightly pricey at £16.50 but well worth it, and gathered with the tourists and school children to wait for the gun. How about this for a view while you're waiting?

Even though I was anticipating a massive bang, it was hard not to jump out of my skin when it did go off.

The crowds quickly dispersed and we begun our wanderings around the castle.

A lot of the exhibitions don't let you take photos so you will just have to go yourself and I highly recommend that you do, from the military museum to the great hall there is so much to see and if the history isn't enough to entice you then why not just go for these views:

'Oh look whiskey tasting'

yep that happened, it was just a little sip and I'm not really that keen on whiskey but is there really anything better to warm your insides on a cool day? In fact the one I tried was so good I even picked up a mini bottle to take home.

We spent a good couple of hours exploring the castle and I'm so glad we did, theres nothing quite like playing tourist in your own city.



Some new skin care favourites

I'm pretty lucky as far as complection goes, by no means do I have perfect skin, but I very rarely have any huge spots to cover up. So although I wear make up almost everyday its very light which I think helps keep my skin in pretty good condition. Although when it comes to skin care I can be pretty lazy and with the weather turning pretty cold over the last couple of weeks I'm finding that I need to pay a little more attention to my daily routine. I have recently swapped some of my go to facial products and apparently its making a difference....or so my Granny said! Here are a few of my current favourites:

Micellar Water: ok yes this was one of those things that people were blogging about and it sounded good so I just had to try it and personally I think it is as good as what I've read about it. I like to use it when I get in from work to take off my make up, it helps me to feel refreshed after a long day.

Exfoliating new cell scrub: I probably use this twice a week at the moment to help clean out my pores. It always leaves my skin feeling super soft.

Gentle Cleanser: This is probably my favourite of my current go to products, it is quite a light cleanser, doesn't go on your skin too thick but it definitely does the trick.

Gentle moisturizer: I've been using this for a couple of years now but haven't posted about it and just like the cleanser it is quite light. I find nothing worse than a heavy moisturiser that makes you feel like washing your face all over again cause you have a layer of slime left behind! haha maybe thats a little extreme but you know what I mean! This is nice and light and refreshing.

As you can see I have a definite love for arbonne products - they just work for me so well. Once you find something that works it's hard to switch to anything else.


Mademoiselle Macaron

I've been desperate to visit this place ever since I first heard about it and honestly I'm amazed it took me so long to cross it off my to do list. Anyway I finally had a day with not much planned, I needed to head into Edinburgh to run a few errands but knew this wouldn't take too long so decided I might as well make the most of my journey and allow myself a bit of time to relax. After making my way along Princes Street popping in and out of a few shops I found myself at the right end of town to take a left and head on straight up to Mademoiselle Macaron.

Going on a Thursday was great, as it was pretty quiet. I walked in and there were a couple of women sitting at the large table and one young lady just as I walked in the door. Much to my delight the chaise longues were free! can't believe I didn't get a snap of them but I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities.  

I had the best view of the whole shop, although it is rather tiny but it definitely adds to its charm. I had a clear view of the coffee counter with all the different macaron flavours in one direction and the perfect view of the street for a spot of people watching. 

After quite a bit of thinking and taking note of the advice from one of the girls working there I finally managed to decide which of the wonderful flavours to samples. I went for pistachio, chocolate and passionfruit and hendricks gin. To wash them down I had a steampunk cappuccino or two, its quite possibly some of the best coffee you can get your hands on around here, or at least I think so.

I sat comfortably on my chaise longue sipping on my coffee and doing a little writing, but it was time to leave before I became a permanent fixture in the cafe, but not before I picked up a box of treats to take home and share (or at least thats what I told myself).

I am so excited to head back to this delightful little cafe, maybe next time I'll sample one of their lovely crêpes they have on the menu.



Back into Training

No one ever looks forward to coming home from their holiday and I was no different, the thing I was looking forward to the least was getting back into training, I knew it was going to be really hard!

My first session in the pool I managed 2500m and I'm not sure how!

800m warm up (surprised I didn't pack it in after that!)

300FC as 100 swim, 100 drill, 100 swim
200IM as 25kick, 25swim
100 choice as 25fast 25 easy

as if once through wasn't enough I had to do that twice!

6x50m FC swim (3 on 60seconds, 3 on 55seconds)

200 swim down.

I don't think i've ever been so tired or more proud of myself for completing that session after a 3 week break.

Only 6 weeks until my first competition in about 7 years. I think its really time to pick up the training.


Why it's ok to fail

Don't let the title fool you, this is a happy post. After all that is what this blog is all about for me. I have just been doing a little reflecting lately.

Two years ago I started working where I am now and for the most part I love it, no one loves every single part of their job right? When I started there it was only a part time role that was on offer but I stuck at it and 7 months in I landed a full time role. Where is the failure in that you ask, well that came first.

During school and university I spent a lot of time trying to do what others expected and tried to make them happy. The more I tried the worse I felt, I was digging a very big hole for myself without even realising it. Without a degree and without any clue as to what I wanted to do with my life I moved back in with my parents and started aimlessly searching for jobs. I decided that I had to pull myself  together and thats exactly what I did. I started by thinking about what made me happy and decided to focus on that and it's the best thing I have ever done!

I now get to work as a designer, coach swimming, swim myself, go to the gym and spend my time off exploring this wonderful city I get to call home. Its not always easy but its so important to appreciate what you have and just enjoy every day as it comes.

So there you have it sometimes you really do need to fall down so you can stand back up again.


Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard

It was dark by the time we got to the Cape so not much chance of admiring the beautiful surroundings so priority number one on Sunday morning was a nice long walk. This was mostly for my benefit so I could admire the architecture and decide that I wanted to live in every single house. I took so many photos, but don't worry I won't post them all. I did manage to narrow it down to one street though!

FYI I love gingerbread.

It's way too hard to pick my favourite so I guess I really will just have to build my own house one day   and draw inspiration from hundreds.

Sunday sadly went by too quickly for my liking as we soon had to drop Kirsten at the airport so she could get back to her wedding planning normality. I really can't believe friends from school are getting married, surely we're still to young for this!

With Sara and Kirsten back to their adult lives, Taylor and I still had a few days of holiday left, one of which we chose to spend on Martha's Vineyard.

It was yet another crazy hot day, bearing in mind I live in Scotland, anything above 20°C is too hot! The short ferry ride from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs was the perfect opportunity to get a nice cool sea breeze and also determine which boat would be the best size for a relaxing day of sunbathing at sea. Not that we will ever own a boat but hey we can dream!

After stepping off the ferry we had a brief wander around and discovered the Gingerbread houses. I am destined to live in this place!

We decided that a bus tour would be the best way to make the most of our short time on the Island. Our tour guide was pretty entertaining and loved sharing his own personal stories particularly ones about President Obama's visits to MV.

We spent 45mins on the bus enjoying the scenery and some fun tales before we were dropped off in Edgartown...Anyone recognise it?

'Amity' ring any bells? yep this is where Jaws was filmed

Anyways time for some food! We stopped in pretty much the first place we came across: Among the flowers cafe. It was really cute, the staff were very friendly and the menu was deliciously simple.

I mean waffles with a Bellini, yes an odd combination but it totally works!

After eating our fill we continued our wander around Edgartown, admiring yet more cute buildings, different in architecture to those on the main land but equally as adorable.

It was time to hop back on the bus and return to Oak Bluffs with one last stop at the beach from the first scene in Jaws; the initial shark attack!

It was then time to get the ferry back to the main land. On our return I noticed that this house just happened to be for sale....one day maybe!

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