Floors Castle and Kelso

Despite having lived in Scotland for all but three years of my life, I haven’t really explored that much of it. Considering that the Borders are literally a stone’s throw away, it’s a county I haven’t ventured into very often. When I was off work recently, we decided to have a day trip to Floors Castle and the nearby town of Kelso, two places I had never visited before.

It was a typically windy and showery day, but that didn’t take away from how lovely both Floors Castle and Kelso were. Our first stop at Floors was the gardens. There is a beautiful walled garden which is filled with an array of flowers. The colours were gorgeous and there were loads of bumble bees making the most of all the pollen. It was very peaceful in the walled garden, despite how popular it was with other visitors. With lots of benches dotted about, on a nice day I imagine it would be a great spot to sit with a book and while away the hours.

Adjacent to the walled garden is the Millennium Garden, which is designed with a French parterre. This reminded me of those grand lawns that you often see in stately homes in adaptations on the TV. We didn’t walk round the whole garden, but we did admire the apple trees which were laden with fruit. Continue reading “Floors Castle and Kelso”

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A Day Out in Anstruther

What is there to do in the summer in Scotland? Head off to the seaside, of course!

I’ve been on holiday this week, so naturally I have been itching to get out and explore. Tuesday happened to be one of the hottest days of the year, but unfortunately my other half was working and our little seaside voyage couldn’t take place until the next day. Needless to say, come Wednesday the skies were grey, the wind was up and the temperature was back down to Baltic. Okay, that last part was maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly didn’t feel very summery when we reached Anstruther.

Anstruther is a little town in Fife, almost directly across the Firth of Forth from our little part of East Lothian. Despite it being so close, I have never ventured there. My partner used to spend his childhood summers there and he wanted to show me some of the places that he used to hang around.

Our first stop was the harbour, which is so pretty.

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Edinburgh Zoo

A couple of weeks ago we decided to visit Edinburgh Zoo. I hadn’t been for a few years but going back reminded me of how conflicted the Zoo makes me feel. On the one hand it is great to be able to see animals that I would never have an opportunity to see otherwise, but on the other hand I can’t help but wonder how being kept in enclosures affects them, especially the bigger animals like the tigers and rhinos. I can only hope that they are well cared for and for the most part they certainly seemed to be.

First up were the meerkats and they are just as adorable as I expected them to be. One was on sentry duty as they would be in the wild and the others were having a great time digging in the earth. A couple of younger ones even had a little play fight.

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London Calling

This time last week I was waking up after a much-needed mini break to London. We were there for two and a half days which just flew by. London is one of those cities that I like to visit – it is so vibrant and full of interesting things to see and do. It is also home of some of my friends and it’s always great to meet up with them again too.

Last time I took the other half with me to London we had a whole week and we did as much of the tourist stuff we could – the London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Sea Life London Aquarium, Cutty Sark and so much more. In truth we tried to fit too much in and ended up exhausted and a little grumpy with each other at times.

So this time we decided we would take things at a more leisurely pace. We started as we meant to go on with breakfast at The Breakfast Club at London Bridge. Going out for breakfast is something of a novelty for us. I think we’ve only ever done it once in the three years we’ve been dating. There was much excitement on my part about it and I wasn’t disappointed. The Breakfast Club was busy but we didn’t have to wait long for a nice little booth where we could sit and admire the kitsch decor. It is a mishmash of different things and it really appealed to our sense of humour. Continue reading “London Calling”

Wanderlust

I don’t know if it’s because it’s felt like winter for ages or if it’s looking back at my twenties and realising I haven’t made the most of them, but all of a sudden I really, desperately want to travel. It’s almost as if I have been living in a bubble for the last 29 years, happily oblivious to the rest of the world and now I’ve been jolted out of that bubble and I just want to go everywhere.

Perhaps it’s a result of working in an office with so many well-travelled colleagues. Hearing their travel tales and seeing some of the travel pictures has sparked a desire to visit somewhere completely new. There is so much to see and do in Scotland alone, but I am increasingly becoming aware of how many other holiday options there are out there and now that I am earning a steady and reasonably decent salary, I feel like I can maybe afford to go to another country.

For a while now I have been determined to make this the year I finally go abroad. With my 30th birthday looming, I feel like it’s about time I started venturing to places outside of the UK. My other half has been told that for my birthday I don’t want flowers or chocolates or perfume, I want to go on holiday. Over Christmas we researched flights and I now have a bucket list of places for him to choose from. My birthday is not until October, however, and it just seems incredibly far away. For whatever reason I want to travel and I want to travel now.

Unfortunately I will have to wait, but in the meantime I will torture myself by sharing my bucket list of places I really want to travel to. Hopefully in the next five years we can get through some of them. I better get saving!

  • Copenhagen – This is my first choice for my birthday. The flights are relatively cheap which is a bonus and I have heard nothing but good things from everyone who has ever been there. I did some research and there looks to be loads of things to see from castles to canals and, of course, the Little Mermaid statue. I’m already day dreaming about the photo opportunities in my head.
  • Iceland – Second on my list; the other half is not as keen because he thinks it will be cold in October. Normally I am not a fan of the cold but one of my colleagues recently visited Iceland and she has been raving about it ever since. The Blue Lagoon looks amazing and I also want to go for a chance to see the Northern Lights. What could be more romantic?
  • Paris – Originally I wanted to go to Paris for my birthday, but with recent events in the city I kind of got put off. Some of my friends have also advised that Paris is super busy and I know my boyfriend wouldn’t like that. London crowds annoy me after five minutes, so I don’t know if I would actually enjoy Paris. That said, there is something about seeing the Eiffel Tower on TV and in pictures that just evokes a sense of romance.
  • New York – Ever since I my obsession with Gossip Girl circa 2010 I have wanted to go to New York. As a certified shopaholic I would be in my element, although I probably would come home bankrupt. Needless to say I have always wanted to catch a Broadway show and stand in Times Square. I love the idea of visiting at Christmas to see all the lights and window displays.
  • Vienna – I don’t know why but I have always fancied a trip to Vienna. I don’t really know much about the city, I just always feel like it would be a nice place to visit.
  • Finland – A bit like with Iceland, the lure of Finland is the chance to see the Northern Lights. There is a place called Kakslauttanen which is a series of glass igloos which allow you to lie in bed and gaze up at the sky. Ever since I saw a picture of this place I have been longing to go. I just imagine it would be incredibly romantic and amazing. I’m hoping I can persuade my boyfriend to overlook the cold and take me some time.

There are many more places I could add. I really like the idea of Cyprus and Malta for a sunnier holiday. If I listed them all I would be here all day. It might also end in me booking an impromptu flight and I don’t know how I would explain that one to my other half!

What is on your travel bucket list? Do you have any recommendations? Hit the comments with them and happy holiday planning.

National Sea Life Centre Birmingham

Mini breaks are the best, right? There is nothing quite like getting away for a few days, soaking up the atmosphere and exploring your new surroundings. At the end of last week my other half and I went off to Birmingham for two nights. For me it was a chance to reminisce about my university days and show my boyfriend some of the sights.

One of the places we stopped off at was the Sea Life Centre. We’d visited the one in London and mister was keen to compare the Birmingham one. I was simply excited by the prospect of penguins and otters. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Our tickets were for 11am but we got there early. The Centre opens at 10am and even within less than an hour it was very busy. Unlike in London, however, we were able to get close to the tanks and see the fishes and animals. Much to my delight, the tour began with the penguins. Needless to say there was quite a crowd gathered around to watch them showing off in the water. One penguin in particular kept doing somersaults much to everyone’s amusement.

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The Wallace Monument

Holidays are the best. There’s nothing quite like waking up knowing you don’t have to go to work, that time is your own and you can do whatever you like. Sadly holidays also seem to whiz by. I’ve been lucky enough to have the past week off and I can’t believe how quickly it has passed. I’m really not looking forward to the 6am alarm tomorrow.

On Wednesday we took off to Stirling for an overnight stay. While there we made our way to the Wallace Monument. It dominates the skyline and really does look like a Disney castle. Up close it is both impressive and imposing. For once the weather was on side and as we arrived at the base of the Monument after a short but steep woodland climb the sun was out, bathing the sandy stonework.

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