Long lie in

I’ve had a hectic two weekends. So today I just wanted to lie in bed until noon. That used to be a thing. In fact I used to find it overly rude if anyone even phoned before 12 on a Sunday.

Age, sleep, hangovers

I’m too old to be able to deal with a hangover. Yesterday (after what was only meant to be a couple with a friend) I woke up on my sofa with my pal having stayed over (I clearly offered up my bed). Sick is an understatement. Worse – I felt drained. That was not the plan, especially since I was meant to be in Glasgow for lunchtime to go on a big day out with a group of folk I know.

So having had a rubbish sleep and feeling like I needed to hide in a darkened room – I got up. I can’t now not get up. I’m sure I used to be able to sleep through things when younger. Like I say, sleeping in late used to be a thing. Now I can only manage to re-snooze after a 6am wake up to about 8.30am. Then I need to get up. I think this is an age thing. I also think feeling rough is something I can’t deal with as I get older. Maybe that means I should slow down. Maybe I’ll ignore that thought.

Back out: the challenge

Two days in a row out feels akin to enduring SAS training. Granted I have never, and would never, have endured this. In my head though that is what it is like. So having stuck my head under a cover for an hour at 10am, I then had to rush to get out and get the 12 o’clock train. It wasn’t easy. Even as I’m writing this I am giving myself a high five for managing it.

Glasgow is not the place to go with a hangover

Edinburgh and Glasgow differ. Not just in the architecture, people and layout but also in how people approach a day out on the town for drinks. In Edinburgh I could rock up in trainers and a hoody and still go anywhere on a Saturday afternoon. Cocktails in tiger lilly to a pint in Smithies. In Glasgow 10 inch heels seem like a minimum for a glass of wine. It’s not the place you want to go if you already feel hungover 🙂

That said I rebelliously shoved on my loafers, jeans and a T-shirt and got on the train. It was commented on. I was also a good 5 inches shorter than all the ladies who were out. The joy of not caring less due to the fog brain of hangoverdness (yes a made up word but reflective of how I felt) meant I breezed through the comments and odd looks. And despite being someone who therefore stood out, it was a fabulous day. I even managed to have a few drinks.

Thank Sunday for being Sunday

So the point of this was my long lie in. Clearly the build up of this weekend would lead you all to thinking I stayed in bed till 1pm before meandering across the road (it’s not far) to the coffee shop.

Nope. I woke up at 6am and struggled on and off for the next 5 hours in an annoyed way of obstinate thinking that “no way in hell I am getting up”. So I didn’t make it till noon and feel like I never will again. I did go and get coffee and I did then sit in the garden for a few hours to get some vitamin d. But it’s not the same as when I was young and able to sleep till all hours. I’m even booked into blooming yoga later. Yes I enjoy this lifestyle now. But things have definitely changed. Today I feel pretty old. Today I also think I will never have another glass of wine again.

Why it’s best to buy flowers from a florist

If your lucky your garden will have enough flowers to fill it with colour; but it would be wrong to cut them all for the house. So here are 5 reasons to use your local florist.

1. They are fresh

The flowers are always fresh and will last. If you have a good local florist (I do) then you know they will cut out any that don’t look their best in your bouquet. There is no sell by date like the ones you get in the supermarket. This is a good thing. Who actually decides on a bunch of flowers sell by date? I’d much rather have someone who understands and loves flowers deciding this than some factory wrapping them up for tesco. The ones I buy locally always last me up to two weeks.

2. You get more for your money

I went this morning and asked for flowers for my vase. My local florist is a family run business by a wonderful Italian man who genuinely has a passion for his shop and flowers. I set the price (£10) and he chose lilies. The bunch was big. He said “bargain for your vase” and he was not wrong. I wouldn’t have gotten even a third of these if spending £10 in the supermarket.

My ‘bargain’ lilies

This is the best thing about florists. You can have an idea about what you want or even no idea. But you will get a good price if you regularly buy flowers in your local shop. You might pay more for a pre organised bouquet (the ones you would get for a gift) but if you just leave it to chance or price you generally won’t be disappointed. He even took off the pollen so it wouldn’t drop and stain the floor.

3. The person selling you flowers loves flowers

Local shopkeepers are committed to what they sell as it’s not easy to compete against the convenience shopping that the supermarkets offer. Florists even more so as it’s an art form.

My florist clearly loves his shop and his flowers. The whole place is an array of different colours, textures and smells. The displays he does are amazing and what’s really lovely is that he makes up pots with a flower display to sit outside all the other little shops (and the pub) in his street.

4. You are supporting local business

Supporting local business and having beautiful flowers in your house is a win win situation. I would hate to see some of the quirky little shops in my area disappear. They make Edinburgh a great place to meander through. If you think about it though it is amazing that florists have survived over the years. Even with the big event days (valentines day, weddings, funerals and birthdays) this doesn’t explain how on a day to day basis they manage to survive. I’m glad they do though.

5. You end up buying more than just a bunch of flowers

Pot plants, garden plants and, my favourite, quirky Cactus plants; the florist has them all. I regularly go in just to have a look. A girl can never have too many flowers and plants in their home.

Extra purchase today

Edinburgh Castle, Cannons and The Cannonball

My sister didn’t want to do the lunch booking (she usually does). So since I have had a week off work, and this was planned in with my sis and mum, I took on the job of picking the place. I very nearly chose Noks Kitchen which is a firm favourite and a short walk along the road to Stockbridge. But….living in Edinburgh (and growing up here) is a gift. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world (my next favourite is Rome), so I decided on a recommendation in the heart of the city and right next to the castle.

The Cannonball

I had never been before but took an article at its word for this being a great place for food. They were right. The setting is magnificent. Right next door to the esplanade of the Castle this building started off as a Duke’s who was ‘Keeper of the Castle’. From then to now it was an old Edinburgh tenement, to burnt out shell to School House to building used for a variety of things before the Contini’s took it on and made a great restaurant and Bar.

The nicely priced lunch set menu was probably underpriced. I started off with haggis balls and then a steak sandwich. Missing out on the desert was a mistake. My sister’s chocolate mousse looked like something from Masterchef. From her ooh’s and ahhhh’s it clearly was delicious. All in all this was a win. When you live in Edinburgh you rarely get that close to the castle as we tend to favour certain areas and restaurants. Edinburgh is a collection of villages which were joined together by the New Town and once in a while we should all go back to the heart of the city (avoiding the many tourists) to bask in its beauty. The Cannonball gives you this. It is right next to the castle and the restaurant has lovely views over the castle. It is that sort of place where you touch the walls in the knowledge that there is history and we should connect to it. It was also really good food and Ill definitely be back.

So…over a glass of good Malbec the suggestion was made to visit the Castle. Why would we not. I had heels on (boots thankfully so comfy enough) and we were a bottle down but…It was right there! Too tempting.

The Cannons

Its not the cheapest but it is bloody beautiful. Walk through, pay, and the first thing you come to are the cannons lining the walls. The One o Clock gun is a bit new age (they old things obviously only throw out real cannonballs rather than just the noice) but there are plenty of the old yins. Never stop at these though. Mons Meg is up the way and this cannon is something to behold with a history even England would be jealous of.

Mons Meg: built in 1449

The Castle

Edinburgh castle is stunning and I am always in awe of it. The view from Princess Street is good enough but a walk around it reminds me of the romantic nature of us Scottish folk. The surprising thing is how little it can feel even in its statuesque position on the hill overlooking the gardens (when built it was a loch and the New Town didn’t exist). The great hall is magnificent, the Stone of Destiny touches most hearts and the tiny chapel is simple yet ornate.

The Great Hall

My tips. Try the whisky. Don’t wear heels. Head down to Deacon Brodie’s for a pint afterwards. But also just bask in it. Kings, Queens, intrigue, deception and many a story have come from that castle. We are lucky to have it. We will always have it. In some ways I feel I should visit more but it is always there, overlooking Edinburgh. I go enough for an ‘Edinburgher’. I’ll definitely be eating next to it more.

Parking in Edinburgh…The little wins in life.

If you live city centre or anywhere near the centre you will have experienced the joy of buying a permit to park in permit bays. To be fair there are usually plenty where I live but there is a bit of building work going on and so I don’t always get home from work to a convenient parking space. Cue the Russian Roulette style game of how long can I get away with this before the ‘blue meanie’ (parking warden) catches me. If you are visiting Edinburgh (do – its a beautiful place) then this also applies to those drivers parking and paying for their tickets. My advice would be to get the bus / tram / taxi. Its better for the environment :-)! I live here and so need my car.

I won today!

I forgot last night whilst parking that I wasn’t in work this morning. I have a permit displayed sparkingly clear in the window; but I wasn’t in a space. I forgot. I had a glass of wine and this morning lazily decided my bed was the best thing ever. Having leisurely gotten up and sauntered through to the kitchen to make an espresso I opened the curtains and thought…’what a lovely day’. I spotted a car parked outside of a bay and considered how long it would take for that red envelope to be printed and stuck under the windscreen wiper (the fine!). Whilst wondering this my mind wandered to my own car. ‘Fxxx’!! The sudden realisation at 10.54am that I was on a single yellow line dawned on me. The parking restrictions start (here) at 8.30am (at 8am further into the centre if you need to know that). This was a problem in my problem free morning.

With no thought given to my wildly messy hair or the fact that I hadn’t properly dressed yet I pulled on some clothes, zipped up a jacket and ran out! Passing the builders who looked a little bewildered I got to the car and…joy…no ticket. Fist pumping the air (I held back from the winner dance to avoid serious embarrassment) I jumped in and drove the 50 yards to safety. Today they didn’t get me. Today I had a win. Anyone who lives with these parking restrictions will understand the significance of this. It is sometimes the little things, the little wins, that amuse me. I have had some amusing brushes with the blue meanie law (parking) enforcers.

My best examplesT

The absolute best

This one still makes me laugh. I had parked just outside the Royal Edinburgh hospital. This is a hospital for all sorts of mental health issues – from the secure unit to addictions to eating disorders. Nestled in a posh part of town the parking is horrendous. I had a ticket but my appointment with someone in the hospital (not as a patient…as a professional) ran over. So my ticket had run out. When approaching my car I saw the parking warden bloke. Mind overdrive – ‘I can make this, he might not have printed it yet’. So I wildly ran towards him saying (probably moaning incoherently) that my appointment ran over. He looked panicked. He didn’t print out the ticket but said he hoped I was ok and went on his way. It really wasn’t until I was in and starting the engine that it dawned on me what my behaviour might have looked like. I probably scared him…just a little. Win!

A definite contender

This time I had a ticket and it had plenty of time on it. However I didn’t really bother, whilst in a rush, to stick it to the window. So I got a ticket. Instead of paying it or ignoring it (both definite options), I decided to write a letter. My letter detailed my ticket and provided them with photo evidence. I made it amusing and begged for forgiveness to be given to them for not providing me with a sticky enough sticker. I received a lovely reply that basically told me it was my fault. But because I had brightened up their potentially dull day, my ticket was quashed. Win!

The hug

I caught him just in time. If you manage to get to your car before they have tapped some details into their little machine they will probably let you off. So…just like in the movies…this blue meanie got a hug. I am convinced we both felt better about life.

The meaning in all of this

Absolutely nothing. It made me chuckle and it is one of those things in Edinburgh. I have had a few tickets over the years but I don’t really remember the details. I do remember the wins.

Men in shorts: the good, the bad and the somewhat disturbing

I have had a busy week so when I get home around 7pm from a long day I tend to just want to nip into the local store for something easy. So on two nights this week, whilst looking a bit bedraggled and feeling blooming knackered, I have done the Tesco run (actually a short walk but you get my meaning).

But on the upside to this long week and my knackerdness, my grocery (wine and nibbles) shopping trips have been what you might call interesting. It might be due to the milder weather, or the fact that the whole of Edinburgh seem to have been involved in some kind of fitness (on the days I have stuffed myself with fatty food), but there is an odd phenomenon of increasing numbers of men in shorts.

This is not a wholly good thing. In fact it ranges on the spectrum of ‘ooh he looks good in them’ to ‘why on earth did you not look in the mirror before going out in public’. But, as I said, definitely interesting.

The good to the disturbing

Good shorts need to be worn by good men. Fact! Although the definition of a good man whilst assessing their ability in short wearing does not merit the full range of goodness that we would usually use a measure of someone. In fact, sorry about this, it really just relies on confidence and body shape. Men with confidence will pull anything off. The rest of those mere mortals however should really consider what suits them. I don’t feel bad saying this, we all try and wear what works for us. So if it works then great. I can still curiously look on whilst wondering about the decision making; but only in a curious and self amusing way rather than being horrible about it.

Take for example the 80s style bloke who lives around here. He wears luminous shorts, high socks and a headband. Curious but interesting (he must be confident). Then there is a bloke who (thank the leg gods) has great legs and wears not too short shorts but not baggy and long shorts either; just the right length and just the right legs :-). Then there are a good few who haven’t focused on the legs at the gym (instead favouring biceps) who wear a slightly longer short to suit. All of these are good.

The bad ones are noticeable. I know that the whole men tight things with shorts over the top is a ‘gym thing’ but I find it slightly odd (maybe disturbing was too dramatic a title). What is the need for it? Surely a thinner joggy bottom type attire would have done the same job. I am not even convinced about the 2 in one type shorts for the gym; aren’t they more suited to cyclists? The ones with a thin pair of legs wearing short shorts more suited to rugby players are not my cup of tea either. The only bad shorts I feel are acceptable are the ones similar to the deliveroo cyclist I saw. Functionally bad but rather acceptable given that Edinburgh is full of hills and the poor man must be cycling up and down them all day.

Why think about this?

I honestly don’t know. My only excuse is I like to notice things and I have a dry sense of humour. This amused me this week. Its probably an attempt in my head to avoid the fact that I should have done more exercise; instead commenting on the silliness of exercise attire. I also appreciate a good pair of legs in shorts. Disturbing – possibly. Bad of me – yes. Good – hell yeah! All I can say is bring on the summer for a more shorts variety.