To Old Times To New times

Happy New YEAR! Hogmanay is my favourite night of the year. At times so fantastic, at times so reminiscent, at other times it has passed by me completely. But whether I have peaked too early and am currently hugging my toilet floor having been shoved in a taxi (it might be someone else’s toilet floor…yes that happened badly one year) or I am watching the fireworks over the castle having popped out from the Black Tie event onto the rooftop (this is the plan so hopefully I am) – Slange Var!!!

Here is to the New Year. Yes yes in case you pick me up on it…I went for the easy spelling of cheers.

To Old Times

My favourite verse of Auld Lang Syne (old long since…for the old times) is the second one.

"And surely ye'll be your pint-stoup
And surely I'll be mine
And we'll talk' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne."

It basically means that we will both buy a pint (or another tipple of whatever is your thing) and we will talk together as friends who haven’t forgotten and who reminisce.

I get a little soppy about the fact that we Scottish people love the New Year and there is no better place to be than Edinburgh at Hogmany. So another favourite reminiscing tune that I will also make sure I listen to is Caledonia. Favourite bit about that song? Most of it…so probably the chorus.

"Oh Let me tell you that I love you
that I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
now I'm going home
and if I should become a stranger
no it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had"

Anyway. Time to reflect on the year. Its been a good one. Here’s to the next.

Hopefully the next will be brought in having a glass of something good and watching the fireworks. This took effort. The dress I wanted to wear just didn’t cut it so I had a last minute dash yesterday to buy a new one. I bought two. I bought no heels though; which is pretty good going for me.

To New Times

So….When I get over the hangover that is undoubtedly coming my way I have to pack. Usually the 1st means more parties. First footing is still a thing in Scotland although I don’t think we do it enough nowadays. Stovies throughout the early hours of the morning and probably more alcohol.

Then after a lot of snoozing it is usually time to go have steak pie somewhere (my mum usually forces me to attend theirs). It’s a tradition on the 1st. This year I have to pack first, with a hangover (undoubtedly), she said I had to be their by 5pm (doubt it!).

I am off skiing on the 2nd. French Alps, French wine, French snow, can’t frecking wait.

So here’s to the New Year. I will be pointing down a mountain in two days time on things that make me slide down it. Slightly mental I know. Hopefully I won’t be on my backside too much although that is probably too much to ask. As long as I have my wine legs on it should be ok.

Here’s to your New Year. Hope its a good one. Slange!


Sometimes relaxation is relaxing. Other times relaxation is just relaxing. For everyone the difference may be subtle, but there is a difference. For me relaxing is a yin yoga class. Or a good book and a glass of wine in the garden. Time out from a madly busy week. It can even be a wild weekend with friends in Edinburgh; non stop busyness; just not work busyness. But then there are times when it is a little different. It may be a skiing holiday, or the beach in Koh Samui. It is also, for me, likely to be time well spent at a friends place in the countryside. The peacefulness, the quiet, the laughter, the drinks, and of course the Scottish banter.

Its very personal

When I think about what I find relaxing it usually involves yoga. But that is a central part of my life in Edinburgh and so it isn’t the ‘take me away from it all’ kind of relaxing. So a drive (or a plane if I am feeling a bit flush), to a place I know I am welcome in is an immediate calmer in life. It is a personal thing and everyone is different, but I feel just as relaxed heading off to the West coast of Scotland to friends as I do to the top most part of Scotland…as I also do to Thailand. Common denominator? Friends and time away the day to day normality.

Time away

This time it was West. Second time this year and planned as a result of enjoying friends’ company and a good mate hosting us the last time. I am also very lucky in that said mate has a gorgeous place in the midst of nowhere on the West Coast. Cows, swallows, butterflies (current Scottish 1 in 10 year phenomenon of bloody millions of them), dogs, cats and general country animals all add to the feeling of getting away for the weekend. Clearly wine was involved as was good weather (thank you Scotland I promise I will stop moaning about the heat) and good food.

Bliss. Just like a good shavasana at the end of a serene yoga class, getting away from the city and spending time with friends is good for the soul. No expectations. No demands. This meant that I had time to read my book, time to watch a movie (I fell asleep), time to have a walk on the beach, time to soak up the local culture (gala days and fairs), time to enjoy a coffee, soak up the sun and time to just be at a slower pace.

Affect / Effect

Whichever way you look at it, from a health or emotional perspective, time away from the hum drum of normality is good for you. Sitting back at home feeling a little knackered from the drive back to Edinburgh I am still feeling relaxed. I have a few pages left of the bloody brilliant book I am reading (‘A Fire Sparkling’ by Julianne MacLean). I am going to finish it tonight to end the long weekend and to keep the relaxation feeling going a little longer.

Tomorrow I will get ready to be busy again. A different type of relaxation on my fortnight leave from work. I will quicken the pace, get back in the Edinburgh zone and get ready to enjoy the Edinburgh festival. The fringe is an amazing time in Edinburgh and I plan to do loads. Just not tonight. I am still enjoying the effects of my relaxation with friends in the West Coast. Tomorrow will have a different effect and a different affect. A different style of relaxation.

That one week in Scotland when we complain about the heat

It’s finally here. Some heat. Some sun. But it is so hot. This is meant to be the hottest day of the year so far and temperatures in Edinburgh are set to rise to 28 degrees. The best thing about today is that I am off work!! The worst thing about this week is that it has been rather hot and I have had to work long hours. I am even working this weekend. So cue the perpetual moaning about the weather no matter what it is like.

General Weather complaints

There is a list. It is repetitive yearly. Please note I have just as big a list about the good points of the weather. But this post is dedicated to my complaints. My list goes like this:


  • How many times am I going to have to clear leaves up off this bloody garden?
  • There is no sun anymore and Its bloody freezing.
  • Why am I swearing and cursing a lot about Autumn?
  • My hair can’t cope with this.


  • This wind and rain is playing havoc with my hair (hair in frizzy mess or just generally bedraggled and stuck to my face)
  • Why does it never snow anymore for Christmas?
  • Why has it started snowing?
  • Why do the council not grit enough pavements (usually after falling on my backside down the hill)?
  • Why is this lasting so long (usually in April when it is still snowing)?


  • Why is it still snowing? It’s meant to be Spring!
  • It’s too wet to sit outside and I can’t plant my veg yet because the frost keeps coming back.
  • Why am I working on this one day when the temperature hits 14 degrees and this is a valid temperature in Scotland to get the shades on and get a sun tan. There is a phrase in Scotland when this happens “taps aff” meaning lots of blokes start walking down the street without their t-shirts on. Believe me this can be both a good and a bad thing.
  • Why is it not summer yet? Its cold!


  • This isn’t summer. It’s cloudy and raining (to be fair it doesn’t always rain but this features a lot in my weather complaints).
  • Why do I always pick the wrong annual leave? It was sunny last week and now I’m off the weather is rubbish.
  • I just heaved that sun lounger out to the garden for nothing. The sun has disappeared.

When it’s unusually hot

Apparently we British folk are obsessed by the weather. I might have disputed that in an attempt to look nonplussed about such things but the above points provide evidence to the contrary.

This week the temperatures have been up in the mid twenties and whilst there was initial elation, the reality hit me whilst sitting in the car on the motorway in a massive traffic jam. Thank god for cars having air con. Thank god I didn’t have too much water before getting in the car.

This kind of temperature is fine when on holiday. On holiday I would be waking up in an air conditioned room (the joy) and after showering I would be lathering on the sun lotion and getting a towel ready for the pool. The reality at home is that I have woken up in the middle of the night to open the window. I have pondered the only bedding options I have (duvet not thin sheets) given I have spent the night doing a too hot duvet off, too cold duvet on, too hot duvet off dance finishing in one leg out and one leg in. I have also considered why no one here (other than hotels) has air con (and then dismissed this on reflection of all the points listed above).

On holiday I would not be pulling on a pair of tights and a dress (probably both black due to my bare leg issues at work). I also wouldn’t be getting into an already hot car with a coffee. I wouldn’t be sitting in a morning meeting with a number of other people who have had an equally bad sleep (the grumpiness can be hilarious though). On holiday wouldn’t be depressing myself with the thought that by the time I get home the sun will have disappeared from the garden.

I clearly am obsessed with the weather!

Today I am off and as I said it is meant to be the hottest so far. So the sun lounger is prepped and ready for the garden. I am looking forward to a tan. In reality this will probably mean going a bit red due to the pastiness of Scottish skin. This is the one time (and week) of the year when I think there is utility in my face moisturiser having an SPF factor 15.

I will stop having a moan and complaining about the heat for a while. At least until noon. Then I expect to be commenting on the heat to my neighbours, looking for a cloud in the sky and wishing it to cover the sun for a bit of respite (this usually works the other way around – see points above) and drinking a lot of water.

This is the one week of the year when we complain about it being too hot! There are lots of things I like about the weather. But it may be some months before I am posting about the benefits of dark nights and the coziness of sitting inside with a bowl of soup whilst watching the rain, wind and snow. For now I am content with my complaining. Next week when it is raining on my annual leave I will probably complain even more. Anyway – to the garden!

A wonderful weekend to the West coast of Scotland

The West coast of Scotland is impressive. As an East coaster its somewhere I rarely visit but always mean to see more of. It is full of windy roads which isn’t great for a lover of motorways (me). But these windy roads lead to fantastic views of the sea, to gorgeous beaches, to the blossom covered lanes and to a few (possibly more than a few) bottles of bubbly with good friends.

Like most badly prepared travellers I rely on few details, the weather app and map on my mobile, to inform me of what to expect. So on Friday afternoon the postcode supplied was typed into the phone and off I went. By the time I got off the motorway (was in Glasgow when I left) I was pretty relaxed and happy to take my time on the roads; not even fussed when the tractors appeared to slow me down even more so than my consistent ‘granny’ speed.

Scotland’s West coast: Dumfries and Galloway

It is quite near to England. Carlisle is only a stones throw away but it definitely looks like Scotland. Not the stunning hills and lochs of the highlands but it is warmer as the weather benefits from the Gulf Stream on that side of the country. So on a sunny Friday evening driving past Dumfries and Castle Douglas I definitely felt like it was a holiday weekend. The place – not too far from Kirckcubright. The directions – well I didn’t get lost. The arrival – to a glass of bubbly on a patio overlooking green fields, woodland and a few cows meandering to their way with their calfs to some water. The evening – full of laughter, catching up and a little too much bubbly. The night – noises of the country. I don’t often hear a bull and cows mooing in Edinburgh. It was ok though…this meant I didn’t hear anyone snoring.

On Saturday we headed out for a walk and then to a local cafe for brunch which thankfully perked everyone up and then we headed out to a local beach. It is great place for meandering with inland walks and beaches that are hidden and pretty untouched. Beaches and the sea that have inspired artists and writers in the past and present. Robert Burns spent a lot of time in this part of the country (settling in Dumfries) and there are lots more examples. There are lots of quirky historical tales about smugglers, violence (the murder at the lighthouse) and troublesome antics of the locals. I had a look online when I got back home and found a couple of books which would be worth a read (Tales of Galloway; and Dumfries & Galloway Folk Tales) on the Kindle.

There are lots of walkers and cyclists and I can see why. The area has lots to see. The holiday lets overlooking the sea look fantastic but I am lucky enough to have a good friend in the area so I’m sure I will be back soon. It was a very relaxed break from the city with friends.