38. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Happy Halloween everyone! This is my favourite time of the year getting all cosy and carving pumpkins. Alas this year I haven't carved pumpkins or felt an ounce of autumnal love so far. I've been insanely busy and I find myself back on call again (it just comes round far too quickly!)

It's less than 10 days until I leave for Hong Kong and I'm already stressing about the lack of preparation already. Usually I would have started at least two weeks before I leave but this time round I feel like it's going to be a last minute dash to the shops to buy some humid weather appropriate clothing.

I managed to book the last of my annual leave off work and me the boy will be booking our flights to London in December! I'm excited to visit the Christmas Market and maybe get some last minute Christmas shopping done. Any recommendations on what we should do around that time of year?

The boy got promoted this week to warehouse supervisor and I have never been more proud. He also passed his forklift tests and can now legally drive a forklift! It's been a long time coming and after all his hard work and perseverance it's finally paid off.

November is literally round the corner and I'm excited for the final set of plans before 2017 :)



// My Second Home

Saturday, 29 October 2016

I consider myself really lucky to have parents that come from another country. I get to enjoy the culture from their homeland and also where I grew up. I have friends that also have the same upbringing as me and we always talk about the differences in food, culture and family life.

In less than 2 weeks, I'll be flying to the other side of the world and holidaying in what I consider my second home; Hong Kong.

I've been to Hong Kong a few times with my family and the last time I went two years ago, I went on a solo trip for some rest and relaxation with my grandparents eating delicious food. Oh the food!

This time I will be flying back to Hong Kong with my mum and we've already got so many things planned. My mum hasn't been home for many years now and I'm excited to spend this time with her and explore more of the city.

I've thought about moving to Hong Kong a few times to teach English but the city is so big and I feel like a small fish in a very big pond when I'm there. There's always something going on with places to see and visit but I'm very much content with the quiet life living in the suburbs and the peace.

So here I am, 10 days before I leave with no suitcase and no clothes suitable for the humidity of the Hong Kong. Wish me luck folks!



37. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 23 October 2016

I don't want to panic any one but it's Halloween next week which means November is round the corner and then it'll be the end of the year and 2017 is literally on our doorstep. Panic aside, I apologise for the distinct lack of posts this week and generally the last few months. Work has literally taken over my life and I'm finding myself being creative and more trying to catch up on sleep. I'm still wanting to keep going with these Sunday Journal's as I like looking back on the week.

This week, out work took us out for a nice meal as a reward for all our hard work. We went to Chaopraya on Union Street which just newly opened and classes itself as fine Thai dining. I opted for the yellow fish curry and it was presented so beautifully. I would definitely go back there again to try a different dish but more for a special occasion than a quick bite to eat. Highly recommended.

I've got just over 2 weeks until I fly to Hong Kong and it's suddenly dawned on me that I have nothing prepared and that the only time I have to pack is next week. Is it too soon to start now? I also found out today that I'll be getting to go to Disneyland in Hong Kong. I've been there before when it first opened but I don't think I appreciated it very much so I'm getting the opportunity to go again and I am very excited to wear my Mickey Ears!

I hope you all have a great Sunday and a lovely fresh new week ahead of you :)



36. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 16 October 2016

I have just attempted an epic burger challenge as I write this. You can probably tell, but I failed miserably and now my belly is close to exploding. The diet starts tomorrow.

I came off call this week so the weekend has just been catching up on sleep and trying to make the most of my free time. Most of it has been spent organising a wee sleepover for my little sisters at the flat. We had a great night playing Dreamphone, watching movies and X Factor. Was a rather nice relaxing evening and I still managed to get into my bed by 10pm. Bonus.

I caught up with some of my favourite boys this weekend over some mid-week dining. I don't have a large group of friends and much prefer having a small close knit group of friends that I see regularly. We ate lots of good food and drank delicious mocktails (it was a school night after all).

I put up a bit of a personal post this week about the contraceptive pill. If you haven't read it, you can read it here. I've had some positive feedback on it and would like to know about what you thought about those kinds of posts? Would topics like this appeal to you or would like to read more about on this blog?

I hope you've all had a fabulous weekend and well rested for a brand new week. I'm off to nurse this food baby now.



The Contraceptive Pill // The Real Life Experience

Friday, 14 October 2016

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now but I've been anxious to write down my thoughts and feelings on this topic but I am a strong empowered female speaking out to my empowered readers!

I was on the contraceptive pill for around a year and a half by which time I had changed the type of pill I took twice and ultimately I have stopped taking it. It wasn't a decision I took lightly but I hope this post will help you to decide whether this is something you want to start or if you're thinking about not taking it any more.

Deciding whether the contraceptive pill is for you
There really isn't a wrong or right answer for this question. Some people go on the pill for various reasons; painful periods or birth control. I decided on the contraceptive pill for birth control and I sought advice from my doctor before I embarked on this adventure. As a healthy female, they put me on the most common tablet whereby I take 3 weeks of pills once every day then I didn't take any for a week where I would have a 'period'. Bear in mind, this isn't a real period. Then on the 8th day you start your new pack whether or not you're still bleeding. Pretty simple concept eh?

I found taking the pill every morning took it's toll on me. It became a bit of a ritual every day and I was tired of it. I found myself taking a big sigh beforehand and it became more of an effort each and every day. You might think it's really weird for me to feel this way but it was honestly a burden.

The effects of the contraceptive pill
The first pill I was put on changed my mood entirely. I actually became depressed. Every day was like a heavy dull cloud over my head and I couldn't find any joy left in the world. It was effecting my work and I was crying over every little thing. Printer ran out of paper? Cry. Used a black pen instead of a blue pen? Cry.

I went to see my doctor again and asked if the pill contributed to this and they changed it to another pill which had a different strength of hormone. You could say my mood improved and the cloud lifted slightly but the boy could see it was still affecting me greatly.

This isn't a general overall effect of the pill as there are some women who have taken it for years and years and it hasn't affected them at all but I persevered and continued swallowing that tiny pill every morning.

The decision to come off the pill
Enough was enough and I decided to give my body a break from it. Once my period I ended, I just didn't take any more pills. The boy noticed a difference in my mood and the cloud that was once above my head lifted. I wasn't overly emotional and I don't cry when the printer runs out of paper any more. I spoke with lots of my girl friends and asked them about their experiences with the pill and if they would come off it. I got some positive advice but ultimately it was my decision.

Of course experiences differ from person to person and everyone has different reasons to go on it. Would I go back on it? Probably but then again probably not. The effects of the pill is still lasting as I recently experienced a very bad gall bladder attack which is a build up of cholesterol in the gall bladder linked to taking the pill due to the hormones amongst other things.

I hope this has helped at least one of you lovely readers with your decision whether coming off or going on the pill. Again, this is my personal experience and none of the above could even apply to you :)



35. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Every time I sit down to write my Sunday Journal, it gets later and later. You have probably guessed it but alas I am on call again this week and I've not had a moment to myself. We have changed the way we do on call now and it runs from Friday to Thursday rather than a Monday to Sunday. I have been quite fortunate this weekend in that I've not had many call outs but your brain is constantly focused on the Blackberry nevertheless.

On Saturday, one of my colleagues treated me and the boy to dinner at Malmaison Aberdeen. It was quite possibly the most extravagant meal I have ever had. I had scallops to start, lobster risotto as a main and creme brulee for dessert. Rather than taking photos of my meal, I decided to just enjoy the food and company rather than seeing the meal as a chance to review it. I will hopefully make another trip there one day. Despite being on call, the company was amazing as was the food.

I have made the decision to join another gym this week to help me meet my fitness goals. Although my current gym is literally a 2 minute driver from my flat, the additional gym membership will fit around my work and lifestyle slightly better.

I hope to have more of a sombre week to fully concentrate on getting some content on the blog. Autumn is my favourite season ever and it would be a shame not to be able to share some of my favourite things with you all.



34. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 2 October 2016

We're on our way into October now and I am terrified that the months (and years!) are flying by too quickly!

The boy has been away this week with his friends to a music festival in Carcassonne so I've been left to my own devices. I've filled my week with lots of plans and keeping myself busy but today has been one of the days were I've been looking for things to fill up my time. As I've been upping my fitness game, I'm going to go on a little Primark spree and stock up on some cheap fitness tops to keep me going.

This weekend was the official launch of the new Les Mills classes. I doubled up my classes on Saturday and did Body Attack and Body Pump. I was loving Body Attack and the music was really good but I struggled to settle into Body Pump and the ab track (Rihanna's Work) is my least favourite song in the entire world but a few more sessions and I'm sure I'll get used to it.

October is my favourite month of the whole calendar year and I'm one month closer to my trip to Hong Kong in November *air punch*



Foodie Eats // Brewdog Aberdeen

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Brewdog has been an Aberdeen Institute for years and has grown massively since opening their flagship bar at Gallowgate in Aberdeen. Making craft beer since 2007 in Inverurie, they have grown to another location in Aberdeen and even further afield with 17 new bars in the UK and abroad.

One bleak Friday night, my Brother Orchid managed to secure us a table in a very busy bar and I asked for a recommendation on which beer to have from their exhaustive list. The server was really nice and suggested a light fruity raspberry beer which was delicious. Didn't even taste like beer and was so light and fresh.

The menu was mainly burgers and it had a very good selection of vegetarian and even vegan options. I was very tempted by the vegan option but opted for the Patriot which had a beef brisket patty, cheddar and bacon between a brioche bun.

The bar was really busy and we had to wait a while for the food to come and although we had planned to see a movie later in the evening we still had plenty of time. My friends ordered the sharing wings but I didn't partake as they were SPICY! Brother Orchid said they were very delicious and the plate was cleaned up within minutes.

The Patriot burger was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. The brioche bun was golden brown and the burger was succulent. I didn't even draw breathe when eating. The skin on fries were crispy and some of the most tasty fries I have encountered. The best part was that there wasn't a soggy fry in sight and they were consistent in taste throughout. My plate was clean within 10 minutes and everyone had happy smiles.

The busy atmosphere didn't dampen the dining experience and it was great to spend an evening with the best people eating the best food. If you're ever in that area of town, I would definitely recommend paying a visit for the food or even a cheeky half pint of (raspberry) beer. Thank you Brewdog for making the best burger and beer to ever pass my lips.



33. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Aberdeen is a really beautiful city. Against the granite backdrop, you can find amazing nooks like the Marshall College Quadrangle. Me and the boy attended a friend's wedding on Friday and the sun shone upon the happy couple. They decided on a small wedding at the registry office in the city's council building and a reception at a local hotel with their close friends and family. It got me thinking that sometimes a big fancy and expensive wedding isn't always necessary. What matters is the two people getting married and sharing their love with close friends and family. It was also very nice to get dressed up and have a well deserved day off work.

I've been left uninspired with blogging this last week. The transition into Autumn is a fantastic time to snuggle up and get out of the dark mornings and damp weather. Along with that, I have been working flat out and when I'm not working, I'm trying to catch up on sleep and to exercise as much as I can. Blogging and full time working is difficult!

The boy is on a guys' holiday this week so I'm on my own but I have lots of exercise plans and will most likely catch up with friends and family. It's nice to spend time on your own too :)

Can't believe October is coming up already. It seems like time goes by ten times quicker! My favourite month filled with pumpkin carving, cosy nights in and warming stews.



32. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hello m'lovelies! Did you miss me? Apologies for not getting a Sunday Journal posted last week. Sometimes the phrase; 'if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all'. I had a fairly boring week and didn't have too much to report hence the missing post.

I've been on call again this week and it has been by far the worst working week I have ever had. By Wednesday I had the grand total of 5 hours sleep and since then I have not been sleeping/not sleeping very well and constantly working. I think I had about 3 hours today to clean the flat and do some food shopping before something kicked off again. Freight forwarding is difficult! I'm looking forward to getting home from work tomorrow and getting straight into bed for a very long snooze!

I held a charity bake sale at work last week for a local charity and raised well over £60.00 for charity! It may not sound like much but we have a small number of staff at work and everyone made such an amazing effort. I made The Anna Edit's salted caramel brownies (with extra salted caramel) and they were to die for!

This week I have Friday off work (thank goodness!) and I will be going to my first wedding in over 3 years! I'm very excited to watch two of my friends getting married (and also having a well earned day off!)

The boy saw how stressed I have been and got me a bouquet of flowers delivered to my work and they were very beautiful. I needed cheering up after my 2.30am wake up call and they are sitting very pretty on my dining table. He's a good 'un :)

That's all folks. I hope you've all had a lovely weekend!



Lifestyle / Hotel Indigo Edinburgh

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

One lazy weekend, I was idly searching the internet for a hotel in Edinburgh during the Festival month but if you've looked at the hotel prices you would have fainted! After checking my diary for any on call clashing dates, I booked this hotel on a whim after reading great reviews and the stylish boutique look about the room.

Hotel Indigo is situated on the trendy York Place in the centre of Edinburgh close to the Playhouse Theatre and very close to The Stand Comedy Club. It is a 5 minute walk to the bus station and a 10 minute walk to the train station so is perfectly located if you're looking for an accessible hotel. It's also close to all the shopping on Princes Street and the restaurant we chose to eat at that evening (saving us a little money on a taxi back to the hotel)

I received a call from the hotel the day before and they asked if I wanted an earlier check in time for no extra charge. I jumped at the chance as I hate lugging around luggage when exploring. We were greeted with such warmth and were informed by the hotel breakfast the next day if we wanted to add it to our stay. We considered it for the whole day and eventually went to the reception later in the evening to add the breakfast offer to our room.

I squealed with delight as soon as we entered the room. It was so beautifully decorated and was perfectly sized for two people. The view wasn't up to much but I wouldn't really be spending a lot of time gazing out the window. The room had a fridge which had fresh milk for the complimentary tea and coffee. Everything in the fridge doesn't come with any extra cost and we delighted upon Irn Bru, Diet Coke, still and sparkling water and Tunnocks tea cakes!

The TV was located at the foot of the bed but made for difficult viewing when I was getting ready by the mirror behind it.

The bathroom was beautiful and featured a waterfall shower and cute complimentary toiletries. There was also fresh dressing gowns hanging beside the shower. As far as boutique hotels go, this one is definitely one of the best I have stayed in. The reception staff were very friendly and hospitable. They even let us have a late check out the next day which was a bonus as our train back home was shortly after we were due to leave the hotel.

The breakfast the next day wasn't the greatest and was a little on the pricey side but it was convenient enough to have the dining room in the same hotel. For the price of the hotel, it was very nice and I felt very comfortable there. It's perfect for a girly weekend, romantic break or a relaxing break away from the normality of life. I would stay here again in a heartbeat. May have to suggest it to the boy again :)



My Experience With Donating Blood #MissingType

Friday, 9 September 2016

First off, I am scared of needles. Why would I want to donate blood regularly I hear you ask? Well, my 10 minutes of fear is nothing comparable to the pain and suffering someone is going through with their illness or someone who has been in an accident and requires blood.

I started donating in University and since then I have racked up a total of 12 donations. The procedure is pretty simple. You have to sign a form and fill in a questionnaire asking you all sorts of questions about your health and lifestyle. It's nothing to worry about, it helps make sure that you're fit and healthy to donate and that the recipient of your blood is safe. A small prick of your finger to test your haemoglobin levels are high enough and you're good to go.

I prefer to donate with my left arm. It's a habit thing. I get those little butterflies in my stomach and the kind donor carers are always on hand to help and look after you. They tend not to leave your side and you get some good conversation from them. You have 15 minutes to donate 465ml of blood. It's just short of a pint of milk. If you don't finish the donation within 15 minutes, that's it. They'll stop it even if you're only 10ml away from the end. This is all for your safety.

We all judge pain differently and for me to say it's painless isn't really telling the truth. It's a small prick in the arm that lasts a few seconds then you don't really feel the rest of it until the end. To me, I'm used to it (although I still grip the side of my chair when the needle goes in).

Afterwards, you're led to a sitting area and given a cup of juice, tea or coffee and given a nice biscuit to get your sugar levels back up. In terms of bad experiences, I've never really had one. The donor carers are very friendly and the donation centre I frequent at are well equipped to deal with any issues you have. And remember, there is no pressure to donate there and then. If you don't feel well or change your mind, you are entitled to just walk away.

If you live in Scotland and are thinking about donating blood, check out their website here for more details. There you will find latest information on stock levels, where your nearest donation centre is and some amazing stories to watch and read.



Foodie Eats // Slug and Lettuce - Edinburgh

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

During our weekend away in Edinburgh, me and the boy were absolutely ravenous after a long train journey to the capital. After dropping our bags off at the hotel, we ventured towards to Omni Centre next to the Edinburgh Playhouse to peruse their culinary offers. We came across the Slug and Lettuce and after having a look at the menu at the door, I had to almost hold the boy back from rushing in.

It wouldn't be a weekend break without a few cocktails to start off the afternoon. It was 50% all cocktails Friday-Sunday and we had trouble deciding on which one to have from the vast options on the menu. As a gin lover, I started on 'English Country Garden' which had a refreshing blend of gin, cucumber, mint and lime. Shame we weren't sitting in a beer garden enjoying it.

Trying to be on the healthy side, I opted for the Mexican stuffed pasta shells with a superfood salad and it was delicious. The salsa was the perfect amount of the spice and the superfood salad was flavoursome and had all of my favourite veggies in it - edamame beans, tomatoes, cucumber and spinach.

The boy decided on the open chicken pie which came with mashed potatoes and peas. He dug in and was quiet for the rest of the meal whilst he devoured it. I obviously had a wee pick at the crispy edges of the puff pastry.

As well as the cocktail deal, there was also 2 for 1 on desserts. The boy had the hot apple pie with custard - he is so old school at heart and I opted for the salted carmel bar. I had no idea what was going to turn up but I had hoped it came with salted caramel sauce and that I certainly got. A soft chocolately bar drenched with salted caramel sauce and ice cream was absolutely divine. The portions were generous and I had to sadly leave a bite or two on my plate as my belly was well and truly stuffed.

We had another cocktail for the road and both chose the Porn Star Martini which came with a shot of prosecco. I drank half of it by which point I decided I didn't like it. Little did I know, I forgot it had vodka in it and due to a bad experience with vodka in the past, I can no longer drink it. The boy however took great advantage of this and finished it off for me. The gentleman he is.

I had a wonderful experience at Slug and Lettuce. The service was very good and not at all intrusive. The food and drinks were equally very good. We talked about how great the restaurant was for the rest of the trip and would happily go there again. Happy bellies.



31. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 4 September 2016

I have just got back to Aberdeen with my feet up after a lovely trip away to Edinburgh with the boy.

The sun was shining for us today as we bid adieu to one of my favourite cities. It actually makes me want to up-roots and move to Edinburgh. The city is so enriched with history and always bustling with people and cute boutiques. We had an amazing time exploring and shopping on Saturday along with a tasty dinner at Cafe Anadaluz in the city accompanied with some tasty cocktails. The next day we did some more exploring up to the castle and I had a wee snoop in Lululemon and Anthropologie. I wanted everything but my wallet was already crying from the weekend activities so I just looked at all the pretty things longingly.

My month of running is over and now I'm focusing on other fitness goals such as weight training and I'm trying to get back into yoga and pick up a few classes out of the gym or even doing home yoga. Has anyone got any recommendations for yoga videos from Youtube?

We're well on the way into September and I'm really looking forward to Brother Orchid coming back from the US, friend's wedding at the end of September and hopefully some more home improvements on the horizon.



The 100 Mile Challenge // Completed

Thursday, 1 September 2016

As of 31st August 2016, me and the boy have ran the equivalent of 4 marathons and 100 miles in one month! I'm so elated that we completed the challenge. We didn't get off to the best of starts and along with us working full time - the boy having a physically demanding job, me being on call for a week, getting a chest infection and paying a visit to G-Meds; I think we did very well.

I learnt a lot about myself; the way I run, how far I can push myself past my mental barrier and the strength and endurance I never knew I had. How can you learn all that about yourself just by running I hear you ask? Well, that's a lot of time spent covering a lot of distance with only your own thoughts for company and you learn to motivate yourself in many different ways. Most of them involving the amount of food I think about consuming once I've finished.

I'm encouraged by the fact that 5k is now a minimum distance I run (my first ever 5k time was 45 minutes, now I can do one in 30 minutes!) and that I can always push myself that little bit more. Although I have done 10k's in the past, I've always been scared of doing them but having to cover that amount of miles a month really push you to increase your target each time.

You care less about how you look when you're in public and that you just care about reaching that last lap or your finishing post. I'm so glad I signed up for this challenge. I wouldn't have ran this much otherwise and I'm even more glad that me and the boy can share this together and without his encouragement, I honestly don't think I would have been able to complete it.

If you're looking for a new challenge or to improve your running then I thoroughly recommend Awesome Running Events. I'm not sponsored by them at all..I just love them! Looking at all the progress pictures makes you feel part of a small community all striving for the same goal and encourages you to lace up your kicks for a cheeky outdoor session on the tarmac.

I can't wait to submit our evidence and receive our bling in the post and show it off on my medal rack. I would definitely sign up for another month of running - after I have recovered from this month of course!



30. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 28 August 2016

There's me. Looking at those salted chocolate brownies the way all salted caramel brownies should be looked at. Love. This recipe is Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup. She's one of my favourite Youtubers and bloggers and she has such a loveable personality.

I've been on call again this week (why does my shift always come round so quickly!) so I've been chained to the on call phone. It's come along quite aptly as I've been on antibiotics this week for a chest infection and my running has had to take a back step until I recover. All is well though, I have finished the course of antibiotics and well on the way to feeling almost 100%.

My friend is leaving to live and work in good ol' England next week so we had a surprise leaving party for her with an 'I'm a Celebrity...' theme. The venue was decorated with jungle themed wall decorations and I made worm mud pie cakes for the occasion. The party was brilliantly organised with party games and the surprise went swimmingly. I'm going to miss her but England is only a stones throw away and nothing a train or plane journey can't fix.

My 100 mile challenge is coming to an end next week and with only 8 miles still to run, I'm feeling confident that I'll smash the target. I will of course do a separate post on this with my thoughts on the whole challenge.

I've got a trip next weekend to Edinburgh which I am really excited about. I accidentally booked a hotel that we ended up having to pay entirely for when I thought we had to pay when we got to the hotel. Nevertheless, we're planning an exciting weekend exploring one of my favourite cities.

That's all for this week folks, next week we'll be in the month of September! Sobeirng thought.

Catch up with this week's posts

#30before30 - Camping
Recipe // Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Recipe // Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Friday, 26 August 2016

I love a good baking challenge and I've been enjoying experimenting with gluten free recipes. Cakes that taste exactly the same as regular wheat based cakes but can be enjoyed by the masses? Yes please! Here is my recipe for gluten free peanut butter cupcakes. As always, please be careful when baking for people with food intolerances and read the labels carefully. Anything that has traces of gluten (although doesn't contain it) can still affect the belly.

Makes 12 cakes

200g butter
200g golden caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g gluten free flour (substitute for self raising flour if needed)
3 tbsp semi skimmed milk
2 generous tbsp smooth peanut butter

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
3. Mix in the vanilla extract and the 2 eggs.
4. Sieve in the flour in three batches and alternate with the milk mixing well in between
5. Once all mixed together add in the peanut butter and mix well.
6. Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases and put into the oven for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before decorating/icing.

The decoration is completely up to yourself. I made a simple vanilla buttercream and decorated it with peanut butter M&M's that my friend gifted to me. These will keep in an air tight container for three days - if they will even last that long!

Let me know if you make these and how they turned out!



#30before30 - Camping

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A little short but sweet video of another #30before30 challenge completed. Me and the boy pitched up our tent in Kintore, Aberdeenshire and enjoyed a bit of the country side. It was the most uncomfortable fun I have ever had but I will vow to bring a better tent and pillows next time.



29. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I'm not sure if it's because I work in freight forwarding but is't this year going past so quickly? This month has just flown past and September is already looming!

This week I've had a baking win and whipped up a batch of peanut butter cupcakes. Gluten free of course, they were well received by my work colleagues and I'm hoping to keep going with my gluten free experiments. I'll be posting the recipe on the blog soon.

I made running gains this week too with a 12k run under my belt. It was the toughest run I have ever done physically and mentally but once I broke past the mental wall, I was just focused on reaching the end and having a whippy ice cream! The beach promenade is the perfect setting and flat too to help you reach those PB's!

I had an emergency visit to emergency care in the early hours of Sunday morning. I've been feeling ill for the past month of so and this week has been particularly worse. My family and friends put it down to my increased running excursions but I ended up seeing out of hours emergency care after being found writhing in pain on my bathroom floor with abdominal pain. I'm home and resting up now but it was a scare to the boy who found me in that state. Taking it easy today, no running and no stress.

I hope you're having a lovely Sunday wherever you are :)

Catch up with my recent posts:

100 mile challenge update
Foodie Eats: Giraffe
Last week's Sunday Journal



The 100 Mile Challenge: Mid-way Update

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Remember back at the beginning of the month, I embarked on a 100 mile running challenge? You can read about it here if you haven't yet caught up.

A week into the challenge me and the boy were struggling. We both work full time and we live in Scotland - which basically equates to rain. A lot of rain. All the time. I'm not a big fan of running on treadmills but I found myself having to do a few treadmill runs in order to make up the mileage.

After a chat with my cousin who is a seasoned runner; he thought we were both a bit insane and that he wouldn't even attempt it. Alarm bells started ringing in the boy's head and after a weekend of two 10k's...our bodies were certainly broken. A long story short, we have now decided to team up and run 50 miles each in order to meet our target. I wasn't too keen on doing it as a team at the beginning but now I can see that it's neigh on impossible for us to complete this without breaking ourselves mentally and physically.

We both feel a lot better now that we don't have the daunting target to meet. I've been enjoying my runs a lot more and I'm feeling stronger already. I hope one day when things at work has settled down and we have more sunshine to enjoy, we will be able to complete the full 100 miles which is something I really want to one day achieve.

Here we are at the halfway point and I'm not doing too bad in reaching my weekly targets. Another update and conclusion at the end of the month!



Foodie Eats: Giraffe

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The offerings in Union Square in Aberdeen are plentiful and you're never short of places to eat. With the cinema ideally placed amongst all these eateries, it's easy to grab a quick bite before catching a movie. 

Me, the boy and our friends frequent at the cinema very often with our Cineworld cards and after a lengthy conversation about where we were to dine; we settled on Giraffe. It was a bonus seeing a 25% off promotion with our cinema ticket.

The menu was diverse and I had trouble choosing what to have. I settled on the salt and pepper squid to start and the BBQ chicken quesadillas. 

The boy had the Tuscan Lamb Meatballs to start and they were very succulent and flavoursome. I had such food envy but managed to pinch a few bites of it before he mopped up the rest of it pretty quickly. My salt and pepper squid was delicious although slightly oily as it had built up at the bottom of the bowl it was still well received.

I had a bad experience with a quesadilla in the past so I was a bit nervous to see how this one would fare. I wasn't disappointed. The filling was very tasty and it had the perfect balance of cheese and black beans inside. The portion was very generous but I still managed to wolf the whole thing down along with a side of sweet potato fries. The rest of my party very much enjoyed their meal as all the plates were cleared of any trace of food.

The service was good and wasn't at all outstanding. Our drinks took a long time to arrive once ordered and our sweet potato fries were forgotten about until we had to flag down a waitress but the general experience was pleasant. We would certainly dine here again as there was plenty of things on the menu that I would like to try.

Giraffe, we shall meet again soon



28. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Another blissful busy week ending with a relaxing Sunday :) This week has again, been all about the running. I will be posting a mid-way update of my 100 mile challenge with a bit of a surprising twist.

My old uni friend came up to Aberdeen from Fife and we spent the day catching up on the last 8 months of our lives. It's been such a relaxing weekend with lots of tea and chats to be had.

I've been enjoying being a bit more healthy this week by cutting out snacks and junk food - but of course everything in moderation! I feel so much better and I've been managing my food shopping and saving money by not doing mid-week shops.

Me and Mama Orchid finally booked our flights to Hong Kong this week! We had been toying with the idea of going for a few weeks now and my mum finally bit the bullet and did it after letting go of her work worries. We leave in November and I'm so excited to be reunited with my Grandparents and visit family. Oh and the food. The delicious food! I'm thinking about filming the trip but needing a more reliable camera to do so. Any one have any camera recommendations for filming that come at a reasonable price tag?

There's so much cool content on the blog lately. I hope you've been catching up with them!



The Active Me

Saturday, 13 August 2016

First off, isn't Aberdeen Beach beautiful? I love the beach for its variety for different activities to do. Whether it be for a swim or ice skate in the leisure centre, tasty brunch with friends at the amazing Sand Dollar Cafe or for a nice run along the promenade.

I didn't used to have an active lifestyle. I used to go home after work and just slob out in the front of the tv and eat whatever I wanted. I had always been a bit chubby growing up and it wasn't until university where I found myself having to lose some of the weight due to health concerns. I joined the gym at university and after catching the running bug, I enjoyed the way I felt after a hard workout and seeing my gains (or weight loss in this case)

Ever since moving out into my own flat, I have been more aware of what I am eating and living so close to my work place means I have more time to run or to hit the gym in the morning or evening. Although my diet has slipped - cooking for only one person is really difficult! I've been making more of an effort to make healthy choices and not buying junk food and meal planning. Everything in moderation remember! Exercise and food included.

Having people around me who enjoy being active whether it be running, going for a walk or climbing hills has really helped me maintain my active lifestyle. There's nothing I love better than to go for a long run through the park racking up the mileage and feeling myself getting stronger.

I'm looking forward to the next stage in my healthy/fitness journey. I want to continue with my running and continue to better myself and improve my fitness levels. Whether I decide to take up yoga again, weight training or just a little mix of everything. I want to try it all!



Sleeping under the Stars: A Trespass Sleeping Bag Review

Thursday, 11 August 2016

I'm 26 and I have never been on a proper camping trip. I bought the boy a tent for our anniversary and what better way to spend a July weekend than camping under the stars. We researched some camping sites nearby and settled for Hillhead Caravan Park in Kintore, Aberdeenshire. For only £15, we got a pitch to pop our tent up on and a secured park area with toilet/shower facilities - easing myself in to the nature adventure slowly!

Setting our tent up was easy but we didn't realise the tent was only one layer and therefore didn't have an outer layer to keep the rain/water out. More on that later.

I was so excited to use the Trespass Catnap Sleeping Bag* as it was a double sleeping bag! I've never come across one like this before and it looked a lot more comfortable than a single sleeping bag. I had read a camping hack online about zipping two sleeping bags together to make a double one but doesn't that just sound like more effort than it's worth? I had done a trial run of this before setting out on our adventure and found it was really easy to take out and roll back up despite the size.

It fitted perfectly in our two man tent and had zips down both sides so there was no fights over who had the side to stick our leg out of if it got too warm.

The area is very peaceful and we weren't bothered too much by other campers and found them very friendly. We didn't invest in a camping stove this time to make our own food so we packed a flask of tea and a small picnic to keep up going through the night.

It was nice going back to basics, no technology and no social media. Me and the boy talked a lot about life and laughed so much I was worried the other campers would be annoyed by my booming laugh!

Once it was time for lights out, we climbed inside the sleeping bag and it was so soft and feels very duvet like. It was spacious and there was plenty of room for the both us us to sleep comfortably. As it rained heavily on the night and overnight the wind was blowing; the raindrops managed to make its way inside. We huddled under the covers and was kept very dry. The tent was clearly not tested with the Scottish weather in mind and we weren't too impressed with it and vowed to purchase a better quality one for the next adventure. The winner of the trip was definitely the sleeping bag. It kept us both dry and warm and very cosy.

The next morning we were eager to get out of our wet tent and some warm food in our belly so we packed up our tent and headed back into the city. I was so sad to pack away all of our things but I'm sure we'll be camping again very very soon and this bag will be another star player in the adventure.



27. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 7 August 2016

What an incredibly busy week it's been. The blog has been feeling neglected lately and I need to put some more love into it.

August kick started the 100 mile running challenge, I knew it was going to be tough before I started and it's really started to take its toll on my body already. I'm going to be doing an update post soon on this so I don't want to go into too much detail but my body is broken after only 12 miles. Really looking forward to my rest day tomorrow.

Along with a lot of running this week, we climbed Scolty Hill in Banchory, Aberdeenshire today. Last time I did it, I really struggled but it seems all this exercising might be doing me some good and I made it up there with no hassle at all. This girl certainly can.

Saturday was a great day for a BBQ and it was amazing to get my whole family together. We celebrated recent and upcoming birthdays and my cousin's engagement! I love spending time with my cousins now that we're all a bit more grown up and independent.

Here's to another week of running and hopefully more blogging!



26. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 31 July 2016

I haven't stopped this week until now. Got a nice cup of tea and Once Upon a Time in the background. Bliss.

This week I've signed up to the 100 mile challenge in August which is tomorrow. The weather is doing me any favours at all and I think I'll find myself doing more than a couple of treadmill runs to make up the mileage.

Me and the boy went camping this weekend and it was hilariously rubbish. The tent I bought for our anniversary was clearly not tested in Scotland and of course it wouldn't be a camping trip without a dousing of rain! Albeit, we had fun but in the morning we packed up our tent and headed on home glad to a bit more dry. I have so far resisted the urge to get into bed and will savour it more tonight.

I bought myself a few new books this week. I really want to get back into reading in between everything else I'm doing. I'm really looking forward to getting into Carrie's new book - 'On the Other Side'

Have a nice relaxing Sunday all, enjoy those precious moments of peace :)



The 100 mile challenge

Monday, 25 July 2016

Photo Credit
If you're a long time reader, you'll know that I'm partial to a good run or two. Whether it be a cheeky 5k down at the park trying to beat my PB or a 10k event where I just want to make it to the finish line without my knees collapsing beneath me; I'd rather run that walk.

I came across Awesome Running Events through Twitter and I researched a little more into it. Intrigued by its premise of running 100 miles in one month - this can be individually or in a team - I sent the link to my fellow running buddy and I told her it was 'go hard or go home'. She said it was a cop out to share the miles. I took note of this and as I'm never one to shy away from a challenge, I signed up solo.

I'm excited at the prospect of pushing my physically in order to meet the target and I envisage it will be tough, especially in the week when I am on call for work. The challenge is tracked using any running app, Garmin, Fitbit or even good old pen and paper. As long as you can show at the end of the month you ran 100 miles, a medal wings its way over to you.

What a challenge this will be and I am so eager to get my running shoes on and see how I cope with doing this along with working full time, part time writing and everything else in life. Physically challenging but so rewarding.

Read more about the event or be brave and sign up here

Be sure to follow me on Twitter or Instagram to get updates along the way.



25. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 24 July 2016

You may have noticed that there wasn't any new posts this week. I know, such a bad blogger. But fear not, I have some exciting posts planned for the weeks coming that I think you will enjoy :)

This week me and the rest of the Orchid family went to see the Lady Boys on Bangkok that was in town this week. Mama Orchid got given some free tickets so we couldn't not turn them down. The show was very good but it was something that I generally wouldn't have gone to see if we hadn't been given some free tickets. The Lady Boys were very beautiful indeed and put on an amazing show full of colour and energy. Would I go and see it again? Probably not.

We had a work night out with a client at the bowling on Friday night and my team really did carry me because we won! An amazing trophy and a £50 voucher to Cafe Analaduz. Come at me tapas!!

This week I have come to the realisation that I have been slacking with my fitness and my meals. I have come up with a strict exercise plan consisting of a lot of cardio and strength training and I have been planning my meals by making a shopping list and sticking to it when I go food shopping. So far, so good! My butternut squash fritatta is looking delightful and ready for my lunchbox.

I managed to hit my PB in my 5k running today. So happy that I managed to cut my time down to 31 minutes. Just need that extra push to make it to the 30 minute mark. Planning some more running this week to try and hit that target.

I hope you've all had an amazing Sunday relaxing and preparing yourselves for the new week ahead



24. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 17 July 2016

I feel like my 'on call' weeks are just weeks of me being grumpy and generally not wanting to participate in life. This week has been much of the same so I will keep this one short and sweet.

My fitness regime has gone out the window and I have taken a week off from all things fitness but back on this week with lots of classes and fitness adventures to go on.

Every one and their Grandma has Pokemon Go and as a fanatic of Pokemon, I've not downloaded it. I really dislike all things mainstream and I'm not one to follow the crowds. After being branded a 'nerd' at work with previous chats of the Pokemon game, the fact I own a Pikachu plush and keyring; I'm basically the only one in the office that doesn't own this game.

Me and the boy booked a spontaneous trip to Edinburgh in September. We're also looking for a trip to do in November and I was looking into Disneyland Paris but with all the attacks in France, the boy and my Mother aren't too keen to let me go. If we were to go, anyone have any Disneyland Paris recommendations/trip planning advice?

Back to normality next week please :)


Barcelona Diaries Day 5

Saturday, 16 July 2016

After sunburn-gate we weren't really in the mood for our last day of sightseeing. I had woken up with two mosquito bites and the boy was still feeling unwell from the sunburn. We had booked a bike tour that morning and debated whether we were both up for going. The boy decided that we should make the most of our last day and go on the bike tour. I had an amazing time scooting about the city on the bike and it made me really miss riding a bike. You can read all about the Sandemans bike tour I did here.

After the bike tour we rested up with some lunch then had a walk around the old gothic quarter. We saw the queue for the Picasso Museum was short so we queued and got in without 10 minutes. I love the audio tour and his early work was amazing but his cubism phase didn't appeal to me and the boy and were pretty glad the museum was closing so we didn't have to stay any longer than necessary. I was very interested in his printmaking work but found the subject matter very vulgar and sexualised. I think they should have kept the temporary exhibit as over 18's only :/

We had an early dinner of tapas and this establishment we went to was not great for our last meal. Something about those black cuttlefish croquettes put me off! We went back to the Air BnB where our host was putting in new furniture that day but it hadn't been completed when we popped back in earlier. They felt bad that we had to go out again so early so offered to buy us dinner. We turned it down as we had eaten earlier but didn't mind the inconvenience so much.

We packed up our bags ready for the early flight tomorrow. Off we went the next day to the airport and back home to Aberdeen with no cancelled flights! It was great to come home to a cold breeze and to be able to sleep under a duvet!

I loved Barcelona and would love to go back when it's off season, I felt there was too many tourists during the summer months. The cancelled flights, sunburn-gate and moquito bites made it less enjoyable but time off with the boy with delicious food, drink and laden with history. Who can complain?