Family Ideas for Celebrating the Royal Wedding

Royal weddings – you’ve got to love them, haven’t you? That chance for the whole country to get together, and for a day at least, revel in the experience of just enjoying something nice. From speculation over the dress, aah-ing over the bridal flowers and waving Union Jacks around, wedding fever is well and truly upon us. But for those of us not lucky enough to have received an invitation, here are some ideas for a right Royal celebration you and your family can have wherever you’re likely to be tuning in.

Ideas for Celebrating the Royal Wedding

HOLD A PARTY CHEZ YOU

The Royal wedding is a perfect excuse for a family get-together. Think tea parties, cucumber sandwiches, Earl Grey and plenty of Victoria sponge. Or what about some scones and clotted cream or home-made lemonade? If you really want to go all out Royal, you could even try this recipe for Her Majesty’s own Scotch pancakes. HRH is said to have made these for US President Dwight Eisenhower when he visited Balmoral Castle in 1959.

Birthday Cake with Strawberries

If you don’t have family nearby, check out local listings for details of community screenings – many village halls and community groups up and down the country are joining in the fun. If you have little ones, why not consider a teddy bear’s picnic or ask your guests (or even the teddies!) to dress up in red, white and blue for the occasion? Don’t let the weather put you off either – for Kate and William’s wedding in 2011, we held a family get-together in my Mother-in-law’s garage. Treehouses and sheds can also be great fun!

Treehouse

DECK THE HALLS

Wherever you’re partying, if you’re having a Royal wedding celebration, why not dress the place up with bunting, balloons, fresh flowers and Union Jack flags? It doesn’t have to be expensive – we made flags ourselves with some card and coloured paper (you’ll find lots of wedding-themed craft ideas online). And remember, bunting isn’t just for Royal Weddings. I’m actually of the opinion it should be an all-year-round thing myself 😉 .

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VISIT A CASTLE

What better time than the Royal wedding weekend to visit a stately home or castle? Great Britain is full of places with royal connections, many of them open to the public at this time of year. We live close to both Dunrobin Castle (pictured) and the Castle of Mey, which was once owned by the Queen Mother. Wherever you live, there’s likely to be a venue in keeping with a royal-themed weekend nearby to explore!

Dunrobin Castle

AND RELAX

After all that partying, you might be in need of some Saturday evening relaxation. What about winding down with that all-time British classic – a plate of fish, chips and mushy peas? And to round your royal-themed Saturday off, what about a bit of Netflix binge-time? I hear The Crown and Suits are both very entertaining stuff….

Fish and Chips

What about you, what will you be doing to celebrate the Royal Wedding? Are you going all-out on wedding fever, or are you keeping it low key? Will you even be tuning in to watch on Saturday? Whatever you’re doing, I’d love to know your plans!

Gx

What Happens on a Writing Retreat – And What It Can Teach You

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a residential women’s writing retreat run by WEA Women in the Highlands at Forse of Nature, near Latheron. Having never been to a writing retreat before, I was completely unsure of what to expect. Aside from the obvious, I was nervous about the 25-mile drive there (yes, really!) and the prospect of sharing a room with other attendees (communication of the latter prompting a rush of anxiety about an as-yet undetected snoring habit, and roommates recoiling in horror at the sight of my make up free pre-bedtime face). As a side note – I ended up with two lovely, non-recoiling roommates and my other fears proved unfounded (barring one minor motor vehicle related incident which I shall return to a little bit closer to the end).

Our retreat started at 4pm on Friday, and making my way along the three-quarter-mile wooded drive to Forse of Nature it occurred to me that few more retreat-like places could be found.  This feeling continued while we were greeted on arrival with smiles, introductions and copious amounts of tea and coffee. We were shown to our bedrooms and left with a bit of free time before dinner to get ourselves settled – or in my case just to amble about ooh-ing and aah-ing at birds in the garden and daffodils in the 24-acre grounds.

Forse of Nature Grounds 2Forse of Nature TreesForse of Nature Scenes

Dinner was a casual getting-to-know-you affair before a session in an adjacent lounge complete with huge sofas, wooden floors, and that writing retreat essential – a real open, crackling fire. We answered some round-the-room icebreaker questions before being set loose on some free writing (involving being given a one-line prompt from a book and writing continuously for 10 minutes before being given pause to share). An ardent keyboard writer myself, this exercise came as something of a revelation. The sheer amount that fell onto the page without my continual editing interjections was really quite a thrill.

Saturday started early – mainly due to Forse’s resident cockerel waking us all up at the crack of dawn. This was actually rather endearing, and padding about long corridors before 6am did hold a certain charm. After some chatting (I’d like to say networking but I’m much more of a chatting person), we had a leisurely breakfast and got started with the programme. Not before a trip to see the resident animals though, naturally. That collision of the natural world and creativity really is quite a potent mix.

Forse of Nature Chickens.JPG

Our first workshop was an introduction to blogging and other creative outlets. It was a fantastic dipping-your-toes-in session for those completely new to the whole blogging scene. Even as a relatively experienced blogger (only by virtue of comparison), there were plenty of learning points. I even learned how to write a Japanese haiku (google it) poem!

After lunch we had a session on writing opinion pieces. It was very enlightening and highlighted (for me at least), that I tend to water down my thoughts. In a sense, that isn’t a huge issue for me as I don’t particularly like sharing strong opinions. However, on the flipside I’ve learned that if the situation calls for it, I shouldn’t be afraid of voicing my own truth.

The couple of hours before dinner were filled with a nature activity led by the wonderful Forse team, involving walking in the wooded grounds and collecting things to make a natural dreamcatcher display. Aided by the glorious sunshine this was a lovely diversion that provided a chance to flex another creative muscle. My creation was, of course, inspired by florals. Making it was actually one of the highlights of my day.

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Dinner was another yummy offering from the Forse crew (a family team considerate to every requirement and request). Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian – you name it, they catered to it. And altogether such a lovely, friendly, welcoming bunch to boot.

After dinner we did another two free writing exercises, one with another prompt and one using all our senses to describe a childhood scene. Reading our work aloud was an element of every session – everyone was so supportive and encouraging of other people. Despite any nerves I think we were all left with a sense of being championed by everyone else around the room.

Sunday morning was another early affair (because, cockerel), so I decided to take myself off to a quiet lounge to write a few more pages of my book. Thankfully, there are quiet lounges all over Forse (a former poor house, infirmary, hotel and residential home). As  a blanket of haar rolled in over the grounds outside I enjoyed a peaceful hour curled up with the story coming to life inside my head.

After breakfast we had a final round-up session and did a bit of free writing reflecting on our experience. A few things I took from the conclusions included the realisation that everyone gets nervous – we all have our own hang-ups, insecurities and inner voices that niggle away. Not letting them get in the way of doing things is what matters. Saying yes even when that little voice inside is saying no.

I also learned that despite my introvert tendencies, in a group of people with shared interests I can muddle along quite reasonably. Put me on a night out with a group of strangers and you’ll find me hiding under a chair somewhere. Put me in a room of writers and I can engage, interact – and perhaps sometimes even do something like inspire.

Another learning point was that I can go a bit free-flow sometimes, and don’t always have to edit every piece to within a few inches of its existence. I’m definitely going to be doing a lot more longhand and free-flow writing. There is always time to tidy the stable when the horses have already been released.

And so, with visions of wild horses, after all this I bade goodbye to my new and interesting companions. I felt uplifted, empowered and ready for anything – well, that was until I got to my car and realised the battery was dead. I quickly realised I couldn’t even remember how to pop the bonnet (oh, the shame of it). So I shuffled back, embarrassed, to the Forse cafe, where a team member came to my rescue with a pair of jump leads – and a suggestion to try not to stall for the first 20 or so miles.

Perhaps sometimes we all need that jump start in life – that small moment of realisation that we can’t do everything on our own. That there is so much value in collaboration, shared experience and extending a hand to others.

As for me, I’m on the open road now and I’m determined not to stall.

Gx

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Blogging, Blushes and a Birthday – Wellies on the School Run is Two!

Wellies on the School Run recently celebrated its second birthday. Well, when I say celebrated….the festivities amounted to me receiving an email from WordPress congratulating me on the happy day 😉 . There was no fanfare, no birthday cake and definitely no birthday bumps – but all the same I thought it was worth acknowledging another little milestone with a few words on the blog.

Wellies on the School Run started two years ago as a way of channelling my desire to be a writer. I wrote about this in a similar ‘Wellies on the School Run turns one’ post last year and you can read about that here. It was also a way for me to have my own creative outlet, something I think at the time I was desperately in need of. What started as a hobby became a passion and over 100 articles later, I’m still loving every day. My writing and my blog give me purpose and direction outside my life as Mummy. For me, having that sense of purpose and structure is so important for wellbeing in all aspects of life.

Typewriter and Tea

It would be a lie, though, to pass my blog off as something that’s just a nice little aside to living. Many bloggers will tell you that there is a very addictive side to blogging and in my experience, that’s definitely true! I seem to operate in two modes these days – writing and thinking about writing. I’m writing a book, have written a play, attend a writers group and am about to head off on my first ever writers retreat. It would be fair to say that writing is pretty much part of the way I live every single day.

It’s also easy to play down the discipline that’s involved in a blogging and writing mindset. I myself am guilty of waving off the effort I put into blogging as if it’s a somewhat frivolous affair. For some reason, I still find myself stumbling around for an answer when people ask me what I do with myself – I feel embarrassed when I tell people I’m a blogger. I mean, that’s not a real thing is it? – I can almost feel them wondering when I’m going to give up this nonsense and get a proper job 😉 .

Saying No to Perfect

Of course, that says more about me than the reality of what anyone else is actually thinking, and the truth of the matter is, I do treat writing and blogging just like any other ‘normal’ job. I have a strong work ethic and am very disciplined about working hours, weekly word count targets and so on – stemming partly from my own personality and also from several years of self-employment as a Childminder and Training Consultant before I started on the blog. I still provide support to my self-employed husband’s business so I am very used to the whole work-from-home mentality – to be honest, I think that discipline is pretty much essential if you want to approach any kind of self-employment as a professional affair.

On that subject, my blog has taken on a slightly more professional air over the last year or so and I now quite regularly receive requests to review products or write about something particular on my site. Although I’m very happy to work with businesses and brands – for the most part I haven’t taken up these requests. I think most of my readers know the sorts of things I’m interested in and would be a little disappointed if I was being anything less than authentic. I’m happy to move a bit cautiously on that score and ensure that anything I write about can be infused with a hefty element of ‘me’.

Cherry Blossom 2018

My blog has also given me lots of opportunities since its conception, from being invited to write for other websites to appearing on BBC Radio Scotland earlier this year. It’s also made me lots of new friends, albeit mainly of the ‘virtual’ kind – I am still rather a lonely character here in the north of Scotland where blogging isn’t really that much of  a ‘thing’. As time goes on, more and more local businesses are adding blogs to their websites, which is lovely – but dedicated family or lifestyle blogs are still few and far between.

In a way, that probably works in my favour, but I am yet to discover any other ‘niche’ so lauded by articles on ‘how to grow a blog’. The truth is, I enjoy writing about all sorts of things and don’t particularly wish to constrain myself. So in the meantime, I’ll keep writing about travel, books, health,  family and lifestyle. What do you say, readers, is that good enough for you?

Gx

Six Places to Visit on a Scottish Outlander Road Trip

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the TV series Outlander, a drama based on the series of books by Diana Gabaldon about a woman who finds herself transported back from 1946 Inverness to the Scotland of two centuries before. Her arrival in 1743 cues romance, tension, and lots of beautifully shot Scottish scenery – so it comes as no surprise that the series – and the books they are based on – have given quite a boost to the Scottish tourist industry in recent years.  This Easter, we decided to take our own Outlander road trip in our campervan (because every good road trip needs a theme, right?) and duly set off from our home in the far north in search of  some Outlander-inspired fun. So here are six of the best Outlander locations to add to your travel bucket list. If you love all things Scottish, otherworldly, and epic romance, I can guarantee you’ll find something you’ll enjoy!

CULLODEN BATTLEFIELD AND VISITOR CENTRE, NEAR INVERNESS

Culloden Battlefield has to be one of the most iconic Outlander locations and the site of the Battle of Culloden, which ended the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, features heavily in the series. Centuries later the battlefield – now under the care of the National Trust for Scotland – remains an eerie, mystical and fascinating place. Concerns have been raised about the so-called ‘Outlander Effect’ and occasionally inappropriate behaviour of some visitors, particularly around the clan graves. It’s worth remembering that in less than an hour, over 1500 men were killed on this site – a sobering thought, and a reminder to go gently through this very special place.

Culloden BattlefieldCullodenCulloden Quote

CLAVA CAIRNS, NEAR INVERNESS

Just a few minutes drive from the Culloden Battlefield are the Clava Cairns, a Bronze Age burial site thought to be the inspiration for (the fictional) Craigh na Dun in Diana Gabaldon’s book series. Most certainly the cairns and the standing stones which surround them evoke images of the dancing ladies in the opening credits of the TV show. Just be careful not to pass through them or you might end up back in the 18th century like Claire did! Then again, if Jamie Fraser is waiting for you on the other side you might be happy to go ahead and dive right in!

Clava Cairns.JPG

DOUNE CASTLE, PERTHSHIRE

Doune Castle was another must-see pit stop on our 4-day Outlander itinerary. The castle will be familiar to Outlander fans as Castle Leoch, where Claire is taken when she first arrives in 1743. It also has an impressive backlist of TV and movie credits, having been used in the pilot episode of Game of Thrones and famously, as a filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sadly on the day we visited it was closed to the public, but we still enjoyed walking around its impressive exterior. Apart from my youngest son slipping in the mud down the hill in this picture, that is. Thankfully for the rest of our trip, better weather (and better judgement around mud-soaked hills) more happily prevailed 🙂 .

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KINLOCH RANNOCH

The beautiful area around Kinloch Rannoch is seen in early Outlander episodes while Claire and Frank enjoy their second honeymoon in Scotland. Back in the real world, the scenery is just as awe-inspiring, as this view we enjoyed over Loch Rannoch illustrates quite well! And just in case you’re wondering – I haven’t done anything to this photo. Those clouds framing the scene were nature’s very own spectacular vignette.

Loch Rannoch View

TROON, AYRSHIRE

The lovely seaside town of Troon played host to the Outlander cast when they filmed there in season one as Claire, Jamie and Murtagh left Scotland and boarded a ship to France. When we visited the harbour featured, things looked a little more modern than they had in the 18th century. All credit to the film crew who must have done a very good job of hiding this marina filled with gorgeous yachts!

Troon

DUNURE HARBOUR AND CASTLE

The final stop on our Outlander itinerary was Dunure harbour, again in Ayrshire – which if you’ve been watching the latest series might be familiar to you as the harbour from which Claire and Jamie set sail in season 3. A stone’s throw away is Dunure Castle, which doubles as the castle on Selkie Island in the series. Fun fact: the castle isn’t actually on an island – it’s just around the corner from the harbour on the coast!

Dunure Harbour OutlanderDunure Castle Selkie Island Outlander

That’s it for my pick of six of the best places to visit on your Scottish Outlander Road Trip. Never fear though, Outlander fans – we have a few more Outlander-themed road trips on the horizon very soon. I’ll be posting more of our Outlander-themed adventures over the summer. In the meantime, happy reading, watching and exploring Outlander fans! 🙂

Click here to see a short video of our trip:

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Daffodils, Reveal, Abba Fever and a Few Changes – #LittleLoves

It’s been a lovely week here in wellies and for most of the last few days the sun has been shining brightly. Aside from the odd downpour (and that moment of April madness – hailstones?!), the weather has been really very good. We had a lovely morning on Saturday exploring the daffodil gardens at Thrumster House near Wick when they opened to the public. Apart from being slowed down by a pesky cold I’m excited about the new season – and of course about sharing another week of my favourite little loves!

Daffodil Swing Thrumster

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Daffodil Swings

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READ

Last week I finished off Reveal by Robbie Williams. You can read lots more about it, and all the other books I read in April, in the Reading Lately post I wrote this week. I’ve also just started reading Outlander – after banging on about the series for so long I thought I’d really better put my money where my mouth is. The only snag is that it’s over 850 pages long which even for me is rather massive. Let’s hope my reading round up next month doesn’t amount to the sum total of just one!

Reveal Book Robbie Williams

WATCHED

I’ve finally finished watching the third series of Outlander (the tv show this time – my apologies to any non-Outlander fans who are wearying of this Outlander-related overload!) It was the usual existential crisis which accompanies the end of my favourite box sets which led to me to turning my attentions to the books!  We also went to see Avengers: Infinity War which was very good if you like that sort of thing. It passed the Mummy acid test anyway: me not falling asleep at a late afternoon viewing in a warm, dark room is recommendation in itself!

HEARD

On Friday I heard the exciting news that Abba have reunited to record some new material. The best news for a Friday – or in fact any day of any given week 🙂 . I’m a big believer that Dancing Queen should be on every playlist in the world – just ever . In case you need a reminder why,  just take a look at this.

WORE

Last week I got myself some new Topshop Jamie jeans. I can really recommend them if you like a skinny jean that’s got a little bit of stretch. They’re slightly high-waisted, which is always a positive if you’re over 30 (okay, 40) or have ever given birth to children. I accessorised them with some roses of the from-me-to-me variety – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right? Just tell my husband they’ve been added to his tab 😉 .

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MADE

Not so long ago I made a decision to cut back on caffeine, and as you do, wrote about it here on the blog if you want to have a peek. Not complete exclusion – I probably have 1-2 coffees a week now. When I do treat myself though, let me tell you, I savour every single sip!

Blue Door Diner Almond Latte

AND LASTLY

The Little Loves link up that I join in with each week has now been changed to a monthly linky, which means that from now on I will only be sharing my Little Loves at the end of every month. I hope this doesn’t disappoint anyone who enjoys the weekly round up – on the positive side, it may free up more of my time to write some of those posts that have been on my to-write list for a while! I’ll be back sometime after the 31st May when the next link up goes live (but there will be lots more Wellies on the School Run posts before that! ) In the meantime, here’s wishing you a fabulous month of little loves – and may your start to Spring be full of wonderful things to read, watch, make, wear and the rest 🙂 .

G x

*This post contains affiliate links which means that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

As usual, I’m linking this post up to Morgana’s linky.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

 

Reading Lately – April 2018

April has been a good month for me on the reading front, and the combination of school holidays, trips away in the campervan and longer evenings have seen me making good progress on my reading pile. I can’t seem to stop myself adding to it every time I visit a second hand bookstore or my local library though, but hey, there are worse habits! I’ve got some fab reads lined up already for May but for now let me fill you in on what’s been keeping me up at night this month. Heartbreaking fiction, a thrilling page-turner, some life lessons from Sweden and a celebrity biography – an eclectic mix as always, that’s just the way I like to read and roll 😉 .

Bad musical parodies aside, my first book for April was We Own The Sky by Luke Allnutt. I usually pick up books based on recommendations or blog reviews but this one just sort of spoke to me from the library shelf. I’m so glad it did and it reminded me I need to let that happen more often. It’s an absolutely beautiful book about love, grief, hope and dealing with the very darkest parts of human life. It tells the story of a couple and their young son and what happens when they discover something is very wrong with him. If you can handle the difficult subject matter this is a story that you will find in turn uplifting, heartbreaking and ultimately impossible to forget.

We Own The Sky Book

My second book for April was Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, another one for the must-read list if you like page-turning thrillers that keep you guessing till the very end. It centres around Laurel, whose daughter Ellie went missing ten years ago – and whose life is just starting to piece together when she falls into a relationship with a man whose daughter bears a striking resemblance to Laurel’s missing child. If you enjoyed books like The Couple Next Door I’d say you’ll love this. I found it pretty un-putdownable – although unfortunately real life meant that I did have to put it down from time to time!

Then She Was Gone Book

My third book for April was a sweet little read about Lagom, the Swedish philosophy of ‘not too little, not too much, just right’. The book gives a lot of insight into how the Swedes approach life/work balance, consumption, the environment and overall contentment – all with a healthy dose of lagom thrown in. I enjoy reading books like this and actually think the Nordic way of life bears many resemblances to life in the far north of Scotland. We do have Viking roots up here after all, so perhaps there is an underlying link!

Lagom Book

My final book for April was Reveal by Robbie Williams and Chris Heath, whom he also partnered with on Feel a few years ago. I’m a big Take That/Robbie Williams fan so I was keen to read this follow up – in general I enjoy biographies and autobiographies as they give a fascinating insight into other peoples’ lives. This has the usual mix of RW vulnerability and eye-popping frankness. If you’re a fan you’ll love it – and if not it’s still an interesting read on celebrity, showmanship and the realities of life under a lens.

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That’s it for this month’s round up but I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ll be back next month with more in the usual format of different-but-the-same. In the meantime, happy reading and do let me know which books you’ve been loving lately. As for me, I’m off to tackle that to-read pile….here’s wishing you all a lovely May in books 🙂 .

Gx

*This post contains affiliate links which means that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

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On Cutting Back on Caffeine

Around about Christmas time, I decided to cut back on coffee. Not so much ‘caffeine is bad’, demonising or complete exclusion, and more ‘all things in moderation’, ‘let’s try this for a while’ and curiosity about whether any benefits could be gained.  I had been suffering quite badly with the effects of autoimmune illness and to be frank, was ready to try anything to alleviate the symptoms. Having read a lot about the subject of chronic illness I was swayed by suggestions that pumping myself with caffeine might not be in the best interests of my health.

Blue Door Diner Thurso Coffees

To be fair though, this was really something of a gradual process. Several months earlier my love for caffeinated tea had already become a casualty of going gluten and dairy free. I went from drinking about four cups of tea a day (and usually two coffees) to basically zero on the tea front. The reason: despite my best efforts, I just could not find a type of non-dairy milk that tasted nice when mingled with my daily brew.

I tried drinking black tea for a while but just found it horribly bitter. I went round the houses with lots of herbal teas but couldn’t find anything that I liked. In the end, I did strike on one that seemed to suit my tea-loving pallete (Tulsi Organic Original, in case you’re interested). And from that point on my builder’s tea habit, which I so enjoyed for many years, came abruptly to a halt.

It therefore seemed an easier transition to cut back on the coffee when the choice presented itself. It wasn’t as if I was a massive coffee drinker anyway, but I did love the odd almond latte now and then (and for the record, instant’s always good enough for me 🙂 ).  I decided to switch to a non-caffeine, gluten-free alternative (Barleycup – yeah, I know, this rock n’ roll lifestyle gets overwhelming 😉 ) . For all but the hardest of coffee-loving people I’d say it’s pretty much okay.

I still drink coffee when we’re away on day trips, on holiday or enjoying coffee dates. As I noted the other day, that’s probably one reason I arrange day trips, holidays and coffee dates any chance I get 🙂 . For me now, there is a real sense of excitement about the prospect of going out for coffee. It’s not an everyday thing by any means so it’s something that gives me, quite literally, a buzz.

Blue Door Diner Almond Latte

As for the health benefits, I’m in two minds about them. I find it easier to drift off to sleep at night but that could also be due to some of the other routine changes I have made. My autoimmune symptoms have improved in recent months, but once again I’ve been doing lots of other things to tackle them. At the end of the day, maybe there is just a synergy to these things.

And if it’s working, that’s good enough for me.

Gx

What do you think? Could you cut back on caffeine or is it a prospect too awful to imagine? Has cutting back on caffeine helped you in any way? I’d love to hear your thoughts!  

* This post contains affiliate links which means that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

A Far North Book Festival, Lagom, The Karate Kid and Getting Organised for Spring – #LittleLoves

The last week has been all about getting back into the old routine here in the wellies household. School, work, and the everyday juggles – like it or not, it’s got to be done! Thankfully the weather has been kind enough to ease us in gently and whilst we didn’t quite reach the heady heights of the southern heatwave, for the far north it’s been perfectly lovely 😉 . My internal batteries seem to run on sunshine so any day that doesn’t involve grey skies is good enough for me!

We’ve also had a busy week of family activities, with my eldest spending a lot of the weekend at a karate grading event (where he and his cousin moved up a belt, just call them the karate kids 🙂 ), and I spent a lot of Saturday at the very first book festival to be held in the far north. Plus there were the usual after-school clubs and the last session of my regular writer’s group (sad face). And of course as usual, there were a few other offerings in the shape of this week’s clutch of Little Loves…..

READ

Kicking off this week was this lovely little book on Lagom. This Swedish philosophy of ‘not too little, not too much, just right’ has been striking a lot of chords with me. Of course, there are a few things you can never have too much of, like sunshiny Spring days, doggy cuddles and books on your to-read list 😉 . But I do like the Swedes understated approach to happiness and contentment. What say you, could you adopt a more lagom approach to life?

Lagom Book

WATCHED

This weekend – in keeping with my son’s karate-themed activities – we watched the original Karate Kid movie, one of my favourites when I was a youngster. I remember my siblings and I renting it from the local garage/video rental place and proceeding to watch it on repeat for the rest of the weekend. It’s always a bit different watching as an adult but that sense of nostalgia is always there and I loved introducing it to my own kids. There’s one scene in which Daniel lets his girlfriend drive his new car and then exclaims ‘it’s the 80’s!’ as if that’s the very height of modernity. Of course at the time it was – but it did make me feel a bit old! And then there’s Mr Miyagi – right up there with Yoda as one of the best ever on-screen characters. If you were a child of the 80’s you’ll know what I’m saying. E.T, Pretty in Pink and Grease movie-fest, anyone?

HEARD

At the weekend I listened to author Theresa Breslin talking at the first ever John O’ Groats book festival. If you follow me on Instagram or Instagram Stories you’ll know I had a really lovely day. It was fantastic to see something like this happening in the far north where we can often feel a bit remote from events and conferences. And I got this beautiful copy of Theresa’s An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales – she also signed it for my children. Altogether, a fabulous event – can’t wait to go again in 2019!

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Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales

WORE

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I don’t always include this section in my Little Loves. I have to admit that I find myself poorly equipped to talk about fashion – let alone take photos of myself wearing anything other than skinny jeans and a Boden stripy top. I’ll try to do better on this in future, but I’ve said that before and I’m still failing 😉 . I did wear sunglasses a lot last week, does that count? (*Insert picture of sunny day in feeble attempt to divert attention from Little Love in hand).

Sunny Sea Views Caithness

MADE

I do seem to do slightly better on the making category, and last week was all about getting back to the bullet journal, making a new weekly spread and getting the to-do lists happening for the kid’s final term before the summer hols. I get a lot of questions on my bullet journal, so if you want to find out more there is loads of info on the posts I’ve written all about bullet journals here and here before. Speaking of to-do lists, I better get on with mine before another week runs away with itself. Here’s wishing you a lovely seven days ahead, Little Loves readers. I’ll be back soon with another dose of sunshine from the blogosphere to keep you feeling sweet.

G x

Bullet Journal Spring 2018

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As usual, I’m linking this post up to Morgana’s weekly linky.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

 

Outlander, Road Trips, Watching the Sunset and Holiday Reading – #LittleLoves

Gosh it seems such a long time since I wrote on here about my Little Loves! In one way the school holidays seem to have flown by and in another I seem to have done very little blogging for so long. I do try to keep my blog ticking over during holiday periods, but usually it’s with posts I have written and scheduled in advance of the schools breaking up. It’s always nice to have that period of downtime and flexibility when the kids are at home. But this week I’m also eager to get my fingers to the keyboard and share my Little Loves with you once again 🙂 .

We had a fantastic Easter break here which included an Outlander-inspired road trip, an excess of Easter eggs, and lots of gold stars on the Easter bucket list I wrote about before the hols. It also included the usual mix of Scottish weather, cinema visits and the odd almond latte or 20 whenever a café serving non-dairy caffeinated beverages was in sight 😉  . Thankfully, we had more than blue skies and chocolate to keep us feeling sweet over the holidays and I managed to do a lot of reading, watching and all the other things that make up my weekly happy list. So sit back, grab a cuppa and let me take you through them one by one…… 🙂

Easter Egg Hunt 2018

Sea from a Seat

The Exchange Book Kiosk Caithness

Almond Latte.JPG

Groatie Buckies Caithness.JPG

READ

I had a fab couple of weeks on the reading front over the holidays – one of the advantages of travelling by campervan is that come evening there isn’t very much to do 😉 – and I absolutely loved both the books I whizzed through – We Own The Sky by Luke Allnut and Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. Lots more on these in my Reading Lately post at the end of the month but for now I can tell you they’re both absolutely fantastic. Both include difficult subject matter but if you can cope with that they are two books I’d highly recommend.

We Own The Sky Book

Then She Was Gone Book

WATCHED

What else in preparation for our Outlander Road Trip than Outlander! If you haven’t seen it, it’s a fantastic series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon about a time-travelling nurse who finds herself slap bang in the middle of the Jacobite uprising of 1745. If you like all things other-worldly, Scotland and epic romance, you’ll love it. Be warned though – it’s not family viewing by any means so you’ll need to be in full charge of the remote control!

HEARD

Lots of listening to the birds singing on our road trip and watching sunsets like this one which we saw at Loch Rannoch. If you ever need to take a moment and just breathe, I can definitely recommend 🙂 .

Loch Rannoch View

MADE

Well, I think we made the most of the holidays but as usual it’s sad to see them leave us. There will be lots more on our Outlander road trip on a blog post coming very soon. Thank goodness for photos, memories and the promise of Summer on the horizon, eh folks? I’ll see you again next week for more of life’s happy things in the shape of little loves 🙂 .

Gx

Dunure Harbour Outlander

Culzean Castle at Sunset.JPG

Maidens Ayrshire

Dunure Castle Selkie Island Outlander

*This post contains affiliate links which means that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

Opinions, Beliefs and Social Media – Maybe We Should All Just Agree to Disagree

One of the reasons I stopped spending so much time on Facebook was due to the amount of online ‘arguing’. For a while there, it seemed like conflict was the order of the day. It was particularly noticeable around big issues like the refugee crisis, Brexit and the Scottish Referendum. But in general, arguments could occur about any little thing. As a person who shies away from confrontation, it was draining. For a while I retreated from my news feed and focused my social media energies on looking at pretty sunsets and cups of tea on Instagram instead.

These days I have gone back to enjoying Facebook – and avoiding looking in the directions where I know conflict might occur. Every now and again I see something that troubles me, however. At times like those I can’t help but wonder about opinions, beliefs and the lines between what is right and what is wrong.

As a person who sees shades of grey in almost everything, I find it difficult when confronted with people who see the world in black and white.  Maybe it’s the way those opinions can be expressed as the ‘one right answer’. I for one know that my views have never been altered by someone telling me forcefully of theirs.’

Similarly I have never seen an online argument where one party says to the other: ‘you’re completely right, I take back everything I’ve said here’. Perhaps there is a better way to influence other peoples’ views?

Be the change Ghandi Quote

And let’s face it, no one is really right or wrong anyway – with a bit of digging, you can find evidence to back up almost anything you believe in. My days of studying Psychology taught me that people will naturally look for evidence to back up their belief systems. That’s just human nature isn’t it? You don’t need a degree in Psychology to tell you that.

So maybe we should all just agree to disagree, accept that you’ll go your way and I’ll go mine – Vive la Difference.

There is always more in life that unites than divides us.

Pretty sunset or cup of tea anyone?

Gx