Me Time

While I've been really good at sticking to a bit of a schedule recently I made an exception last sunday. I've just been so busy lately with working, coaching and swimming that I felt I really needed some time to myself. So much so that I even refused a date, sorry! but to be honest I would've been very poor company anyway.

Instead I took complete advantage of having the house to myself; I stuck my PJs on, opened a bottle of wine and made myself the ultimate mini feast of all things bad!

If you've never done the whole baked camembert thing then you need to get on that ASAP cause its amazing. Generally I would recommend sharing but I managed to find myself a mini one to go with a baguette, my favourite crisps and added few maltesers for good measure.

See a feast of all things bad but oh so yummy! Pair that with Netflix and you've got yourself the ultimate night in...well at least thats my opinion.

What do you like to do to help you unwind?


Portobello Promenade

I love my days off; I don't live for them but they're so important to help keep some kind of balance in my life. Unfotunately I need to spend some of them doing boring things like washing, emails and admin however I'm a firm beleiver in taking at least a little time out for yourself so that you can relax and actually feel like you are able to work through the days mundane tasks. What better way to do this than with coffee and a walk along the beach?!

Portobello is just to the east of Edinburgh and is full of cute little shops, cafes and of course there's the beach. I already want to get back there and do some more exploring but I'm getting ahead of myself. Lets start with a coffee.

Twelve triangles is on the highstreet; they have a second shop in town which I've been to before but this was my first visit here. It's a small store with only a couple of benches if you want to sit in but thats actually something I quite like the smaller scale thing they have going on. You can grab a seat for as long as you like and watch a variety of people pop in and out for their fresh bread and tasty treats. It actually gets quite entertaining as the day goes on and they slowly start to sell out of pastries!

They open in the morning with their offerings for the day and once they're gone thats it you'll have to come back tomorrow so my advice: get there early if you're after something to eat.

If not the coffee is pretty great so stop in for one of those any time of day!

You can also buy Steampunk coffee which if you've read my blog before you'll know its one of my favourites.

I couldn't resist the last cinnamon bun to go with my coffee; I felt a little bad as just as I ordered it another lady came in wanting to buy some but 'if you're not fast you're last'...in fact I'm sure they should put that on a sign over their door!

Before I was tempted to tuck into more pastries I headed towards the promenade for a little stroll before the rain came on.

So it wasn't the nicest of days but that never bothers me, I just love being by the sea waking along the promenade past the people walking their dogs, taking their children to the pool or even just sitting with a book.

I decided they were onto something and grabbed a spot with my feet dangling over the edge and just sat and watched the world go by for a while.

I have decided that Portobello is definitely a place I could see myself living, hopefully sooner rather than later but lets see what happens...


A whole lot of questions tag

Just after my first ever tagged post I was nominated by Courtney to do a second one but this one is much longer and possibly more interesting so I just had to give it a go; hopefully you'll get to know me a bit better and then I can have loads of fun reading your responses.

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat as it is a bit of a long one....

Sorted? ok lets go...

Apple juice or orange juice?

I think I have to go apple on this one!

Are you a morning or a night person?

Can I be neither? I hate getting up in the morning, but also hate to waste my day and since I know how bad I am at getting up I usually like to get to sleep at a decent time. 

Which do you prefer: sweet or salty food?

SWEET! you may have noticed this by my love of afternoon tea, coffees and cakes!

Ninjas or pirates?

I once had a dream where I was a ninja and I'm also not a fan of the sea so thats that one settled

Autobots or Decepticons?

is that even a question?! Autobot's of course

What was your favourite childhood TV program?

Honestly I don't remember watching much TV as a kid I was always out swimming or dancing. I did watch the Little Mermaid on repeat though so can that count?

Are you a collector of anything?

No, I stopped before it got out of hand! ... I have a fairly large china doll collection stored away somewhere

If you could be any animal what would you be?

A dog; they just look like the have a great time and everyone loves them!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I think I'd like to be able to fly...I used to dream about it a lot as a kid

What do you usually think about before falling asleep?

A better question is what don't I think about...so basically everything; kitchens, did I forget to do something today, what do I need to do today, am I going to be single forever, I don't need a man I can do everything for myself, I wonder if anyone remembers that one time when I was 13.... I think you guys get the idea!

Do you believe in E.Ts or life on other planets?

Its not something I've given much thought to, but there probably are living things somewhere else.

Do you believe in ghosts?


Ever been addicted to a video/computer game? which one?

The sims; I used to play for hours on end. I gave up when Sims 4 came out

You're given a million dollars, what do you want to spend it on?

A house (this whole saving thing sucks!) and I'd probably give some to my brothers and parents

Have any bad habits?

Procrastinating! I'm very good at putting stuff off till the last minute then stressing about getting it done on time

Which bad habits, if any, drive you crazy?

People who don't know when to put their phone down and people who are rude

List 3 of your best personality traits

I like to think I'm optimistic (or at least I try to be), kind and generous

List 3 of your worst personality traits

Sensitive, impatient and easily distracted

Have any celeb crushes?

Nah not really

Name one thing you wish you could change about yourself?

Nothing! It's taken me a long time to learn to love me for me, I'm not perfect but I like me just the way I am

What is the first thing you notice in the opposite sex?

Hands...yeah I know thats a bit weird but hey

What personality traits do you look for in a partner?

  • kind
  • caring
  • honest

What personality traits do you dislike in other people?
  • rudeness
  • selfishness
  • attention seeker

Are you mostly a clean or messy person? 

This is a strange question cause I'm clean but my room is a mess!
If its supposed to be clean or dirty then clean. 
If its tidy or messy then messy. (but its an organised mess, I know where everything is)

Do you see yourself getting married in the next 5 years?

I would love to be married in 5 years but since I'm single right now who knows if it'll happen?!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

This is too hard! I actually love where I live right now and I've been lucky enough to experience living in another country already. If I got the chance to go somewhere else then I'd probably take it but for know I'm quite happy where I am and love exploring new places on holiday.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Chicago, Venice, San Francisco... I have a list

List 5 goals on your life's to-do list
  • be happy
  • be healthy
  • get married
  • have kids
  • become a property developer (this is a very long term goal)
Name one regret that you have

I can't; theres things I maybe shouldn't have done but everything i've ever done has got me to where I am now and I wouldn't change that for the world

Name one thing you miss about being a kid

no responsibilities

Name one thing you love about being an adult?

Freedom! The choice to do whatever I want

What is your favourite song at the moment?

tough one! its probably a tie between Centuries , Fall out boy and Sex, cheat codes x kris kross Amsterdam

What is your favourite song of all time?

Dark Blue, Jack's Mannequin 

What's your favourite thing to do on a Saturday night?

a quiet drink in the house with friends or family watching a good movie

What is your favourite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?

If I'm not at work or the pool then a walk along the beach followed by a nice warm coffee and some cake

Have you got any hidden talents?

Nope, I'm pretty boring

You're about to walk the green mile, what do you have as your last meal?

An indian and a large glass of wine

What would be your dream job?

I kind of have 2...I want to flip properties and run my own swim school at the same time

What would you rather have: 100million pounds/dollars, or true love?

True love all the way!

If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?

surely part of the fun of goals/dreams is the hard work you have to put in to get there... but probably:
  • buy my first home
  • find someone who loves me just the way I am
  • have a puppy/the time to take care of one
Ever wish you were born the opposite sex? if yes why?

Kind of...I'm just curious what it's like, men just don't seem to worry like we do nd i'd love to know what that feels like.

Guys thats it! we've come to the end! that was great fun, I kind of want to answer more....anyone got any more questions for me?

up next:

Ruby at Ruby Monday

Tajaljeh at Life as Tajaljeh



NMS After Hours

I wasn't going to write this post cause the few photos I took just do not do the evening justice however I can't not talk about it; it was just too good!

Last Friday I finished at the pool, got ready as fast as I possibly could then headed into Edinburgh to meet the girls for an evening of Fringe entertainment at the Museum. Museum after Hours has sold out for the last few years and Friday was no exception. If I'm being totally honest I didn't know exactly what to expect but thats all part of the fun.

Basically a bunch of acts from the fringe are invited along to the evening and they each perform a mini 15-20min show. Its a great way to experience lots of acts in a short time. It's all inside the beatiful museum building and there is food, drink and facepainting...what more do you need?

First things first...we were hungry so we grabbed a bite to eat: some awesome nachos and pulled pork rolls, I kind of wish I'd had more food; I need to find out where it came from cause I will be heading there for a bite some time soon it was that good!

While the main stages were empty there were dancers and people doing card tricks wandering around and keeping everyone entertained! Such a good idea as it meant zero chance of being bored. This was great for the long wait for the face painting; worth it though!

I think it took about 4 days for me to get rid of all the glitter, even a couple of hours in the pool didn't seem to do the trick.

Anyway after our long wait in the queue (note to self: next year get in there earlier) we thought we better take in some more shows and decided to head upstairs and watch from above. I mean how stunning is this view?

We were running out of time so made a quick dash around the Celts exhibition which I'm hoping to visit again before it ends on the 25th of September.

The highlight of the night for me was definitely the final act 'sunshine on leith'; some great Proclaimers songs to finish off a fabby night in the museum.

If you've not done this before sadly its too late for this year, but I'm already looking forward to next year so why don't you join me?



The Versatile Blogger Award

I've never done one of these before but when Freya over at Freya's Nook tagged me I thought I'd give it a go. Just like her I love to know a little more about the blogger behind the blog. So heres the deal, write down 7 random facts about yourself then tag 10 other bloggers and challenge them to do the same. Hopefully we can all get to know a little more about each other!

So lets see if I can think of 7 things you don't know about me

1. I loved the TV show Heroes
2. I have a completely irrational fear of sharks; they seriously terrify me!
3. I moved back in with my parents 18 months ago (renting & saving is not fun)
4. I usually enjoy a night in way more than a night out
5. I lived in Europe for 4 years
6. I overthink everything
7. I can't walk around in bare feet..I must wear slippers or at least socks

So that took longer than expected! I had to try think of things you wouldn't know, so hopefully you learned something new about me, so now its time to tell me about you! I've picked out some blogs that I have only just discovered. I nominate the following people:

1. Kaitlin Louise from Kaitlin Louise
2. Zoe It's all Sunflowers, Books and Crafts
3.Lindsay Ava from Stiletto in the cloud
4. Lee from Wine & Couture
5.Peta from 24 hours in today
6. Emily from Love Emily 
7. Courtney from My life as courtney
8. Samantha from Samantha Smith
9. Sian from Sian blogs
10. Amber from Ambambe

I can't wait to read your responses!

Here are the rules of the tag:

-thank the person that nominated you (thats me!)
-share the award on your blog
-share your 7 facts
-choose 10 bloggers with less than 1000 followers (i went on twitter followers)
-notify them on social media



Current Netflix Addiction

My longest, most reliable relationship has to be the one I share with caffeine. I mean come on who can turn down a nice warm cappuccino or caramel latte? certainly not me. But lately my caffeine addiction has had a very close competitor...Netflix.

I just can't get enough, I think it started when I was struggling with jet lag after my holiday. Not being able to get to sleep till 1am meant more time for reading and working on my new relationship with Netflix.

So what have I been watching...

It was my brother who first told me about this and I do know a few others who watch it. Its not my favourite tv show but I really enjoy it every now and again. Its funny and short, ideal if you just half half an hour to fill before you head out somewhere or like me, attempt to get to sleep for the 10th time.

It seems like 90% of my twitter feed watch this but none of my real friends do...what can I say I guess I have interesting taste in tv shows. Unlike some I haven't been watching it since the beginning, I've pretty much just been binge watching this in an attempt to catch up. So thank you jet lag for letting me get right up to date with this and now I don't need to avoid spoilers! This show is something I should've watched when I was 16, I feel like it would've fit in perfectly with my love of Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill (speaking of, I wish that was on Netflix!).

After working my way through the Tudors There was a historical drama sized hole in my life, stumbling across this definitely fills that gap. Definitely not to everyones taste and by no means historically accurate but oooh the pretty dresses!

Yes I know I'm a little late to this party but you see I never watched it first time round but don't worry I'm making up for lost time. Season 1 down and a dent made in season 2. This show makes me feel like it is acceptable to eat a tonne of pizza and drink even more coffee than I already do. After all if they can do it why can we? oh yeah thats right my life is not a tv show.

What have you been watching lately? anything I need to get onto ASAP?


Paddling to Pinel

Other than our day at Loterie Farm, we spent the majority of our time lying on the beach or by the pool in a complete state of relaxation. However half way through the holiday we felt the need for a bit of adventure. We jumped in the car and drove to the other side of the Island in search of a place called Cul-De-sac and Caribbean Paddling (only took about 30 mins). We'd done a bit of research the night before and decided that instead of getting on a boat to our destination we would rent some double kayaks and paddle there instead.

Still not 100% sure that was the best idea as there were a few arguments as we started out. We paddled out for about 10 mins to a tiny little Island, Petite Clef, that was the half way point, for a short break before finishing the journey.

I know that doesn't sound like hard work but it was pretty windy so we had to paddle pretty hard (or apparently sit and do nothing so that the boys could do all the work).

We needed some time to cool off so we sat under the t-shirt tree to regain our mental strength to finish the trip.

The benefit of hind-sight....do not wear your t-shirt on the kayak; it WILL get soaked!

After we'd (read I'd) calmed down a little we could fully appreciate the view and search for fish.

Time to make our move over to our final destination for the day, Pinel Island. Once you arrive there is the choice of 2 bar/restaurants with a few rows of parasols and loungers waiting to be rented for the day; we opted for Yellow beach.

After dropping our stuff we went to find some Iguanas that the Island is famous for, along with its snorkelling of course.

We found them hiding out behind the kitchen, I believe they were eyeing up the fruit being cut up...apparently they love Mango.

Just behind the Iguanas there was a little path that we decided to follow just for the sake of adventure...hiking in flipflops and 30 degrees is not something I would recommend...but we did it anyway and boy was it worth it for these views!

 We didn't hang around long as we were in desperate need of some water; if we knew where we were going we would've taken a bottle with us! it only took us 15 mins to get back to the beach or should I say bar.

It was possibly the hottest day we'd had and most of us were actually a little pink despite constant application of sunscreen so we decided the sensible thing to do was stick to the shade for most of that day. Naturally this meant a couple of cocktails and making friends with the barman, Martin, he was really friendly and Mike's fluent French definitely was a help!

We weren't expecting much from their lunch menu after all we were on a little Island but their burgers were great! You should definitely try them, and wash them down with 3 or 4 cocktails just for good measure.

We decided it was time to cut ourselves off from the cocktails, after all we did have to paddle back to the main island, so back onto the water.

We made the most of our last hour or so, enjoying a little bit of sun and a wee snorkel for some. I went to check out some more Iguanas that had wandered down to the edge of the beach...I even touched one!

Our day on the Island was great, I'd never done anything like it before but it was so much fun. If you're planning a trip to St Maarten I highly recommend you add it to your list of things to do!


Luxury at Loterie Farm

As you may or may not know our holiday was for dads 50th birthday so of course we had to plan something special for him. Instead of buying him some random gift that he would use a couple of times and then forget about it we decided it would be much better to do something fun for the memories.

Before we headed out we did a little research and found Loterie Farm; A little paradise in the middle of nowhere; you can hike, zipline or just chill by the pool at L'eau Lounge where you can rent a bed or a cabana for the day as a base.

Thats what we did, we opted for the VIP cabana which had its own poolside deck and the bottle of champagne that was included definitely won us over. We thought it would be the perfect treat for Dad.

We headed there for it opening at 10; we wanted to make the most of it! We were shown to our Cabana and left to settle in which of course meant drop our stuff and explore by ourselves as no one else had arrived yet.

For the first half hour or so we only had the staff and a few of these guys for company!

Mike and Mum decided they wanted to go for a hike while the rest of us really just fancied a really chilled day by the pool, after all it was my first full day on holiday and I just wanted to relax.

The deck of our Cabana led out to this platform in the pool which was just perfect for lounging around without getting too hot. We read our books, went for a swim and had a chat with Rachid who was looking after us for the day.

When Mike and Mum got back from their walk Rachid brought the champagne over which was the perfect way to finish the morning...drinking at 11am is totally acceptable when you're on holiday right!

Well thats my story and I'm sticking to it!

By the time it got to the middle of the day a few more people arrived and one other cabana was rented out. I don't think there was more than 25 people there which was perfect, it was like an exclusive little resort.

July/august is not a busy time on St Maarten as rain and thunderstorms can be quite common so people tend to visit around christmas time when the weather is more consistent. We were really lucky, only had one afternoon that we had to stay inside. I highly recommend visiting in summer as it is really quiet and perfect for relaxing!

Anyway after another dip in the pool we were getting peckish so lunch and cocktails it was. The cocktail list was quite something and we couldn't decide what to order so asked Rachid to bring us over the 6 best cocktails; he did good! his suggestions were amazing!

There was a classic mojito, something with gin, a rum punch cocktail and of course I couldn't resist the Malibu option.

They were perfect to wash down what was quite possibly the best cuban sandwich I have ever had!

We had to give it a bit of time to let our food go down before we could move again; in fact I even think there were a couple of naps taken in the Cabana, but hey thats what it was for!

We spent the rest of the day reading books at the edge of the pool, jumping in and our of the jacuzzi and even made an attempt at some pretty terrible poolside yoga...well Mike was ok at it the rest of us not so much!

This was my favourite day of our trip! It was the best way to spend Dads birthday and I highly recommend it if you're looking for something different to do for the day. The staff were so friendly and accommodating, constantly checking up on you to see if they could get you anything but it wasn't too much...in fact the whole day was just perfect.


A Plane to Paradise

I did have another post planned for today but honestly it wasn't quite right; I'll share it soon, promise! It just has to been done properly....but for today you'll be pleased to hear after my interesting but not ideal start to the holiday (see here) I finally made it to St Maarten and the rest of my family.

St Maarten is a tiny Island in the caribbean, half dutch, half french. It doesn't seem to be well known from the name but most people will recognise this airport landing.

Or you can check out the video on my Instagram!

And yes this sign does warn you against injury or DEATH! (the heat is pretty intense, I definitely wouldn't want to get too close!

I jumped off the plane to glorious sunshine and a short 10 minute taxi ride to our hotel at Simpson Bay; right on the beach front. I made the most of the afternoon sunshine before we headed out to dinner and a good Family catch up.

 Jimbo's is the place to go if you're a fan of fajitas and margaritas; they have original, strawberry, passionfruit or mango. I highly recommend the Mango, they're really good! So good that we went back for a second time later on in the holiday.

Aren't my brothers and I something special?!

So glad I finally made it; the last time we were all together was probably last christmas to having 8 days together was just what we needed.

The holiday was mostly about catching up and relaxing so I'm not going to share everything with you; only some highlights to inspire your own trip to St Maarten!



Unexpected Stop Over

Things have been a little quite over here but I'm not even sorry, I'm currently on the best family holiday ever! If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have already seen some of the photos and you may also know that the trip didn't get off to the best start....

Mum, Dad, Matt, Mike and Ellie flew out on Saturday and I was supposed to join them on Sunday but thanks to a delay on my first flight I missed my connection and had to wait for the next flight out on Monday. I thought I was going to have some kind of breakdown in the middle of Charles De Gualle airport; I wanted nothing more than to get to my family. There was only one thing for it...I had to distract myself and after all I love Paris so I decided to make the most of it.

I got a taxi into town only to discover half the roads were closed for the Tour De France so that was an experience.

After eventually manoeuvring round the blockades I made the most of the sunshine and just took a long walk around the city to stretch my legs ahead of my 8 hour flight.

After tiring myself out, also pretty certain I'd managed to burn my shoulders I thought I best head for some shade and really is there any other place to do that than Ladurée?!

If you don't already know it is one of my absolute favourite places and any opportunity to visit must be taken especially since there isn't one in Edinburgh.

 Still feeling a little sorry for myself, but a good deal better than when I arrived I headed back to my hotel for the night keen to get a good start in the morning so there was no chance of missing my flight to St Maarten.

© Emma's Joys. All rights reserved.